Which one of the following occupational diseases is the most common cause of permanent
disability and mortality?

(a) Silicosis
(b) Anthracosis
(c) Byssinosis
(d) Asbestosis


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ANS- (a) Silicosis

Among the occupational diseases, silicosis is the major cause of permanent disability and mortality.

It is caused by inhalation of dust containing free silica or silicon dioxide (Si02).

Particles between 0.5 to 3 micron are the most dangerous because they reach the interior of the lungs with ease.

incubation period may vary from a few months up to 6 years of exposure.

silicosis is characterized by a dense “nodular” fibrosis, the nodules ranging from 3 to 4 mm in diameter.

An X-ray of the chest shows “snow-storm” appearance in the lung fields.

Silicosis is progressive and what is more important is that silicotics are prone to pulmonary tuberculosis, a
condition called “silico-tuberculosis.”

There is no effective treatment for silicosis.

The only way that silicosis can be controlled (if not altogether eliminated) is by (a) rigorous dust control measures, e.g., substitution, complete enclosure, isolation, hydroblasting, good house-keeping, personal protective measures and (b) regular physical examination of workers.

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