| Share


silicosis (sĭlĭkōˈsĭs) [key], occupational disease of the lungs caused by inhalation of free silica (quartz) dust over a prolonged period of time. Free silica is dispersed in the air and inhaled by workers engaged in the mining of lead, hard coal, and gold, in cutting sandstone and granite, in sandblasting, and in the manufacture of silica abrasives. The irritative action of the silica in the lung results in the formation of nodular lesions; these may coalesce and form massive areas of fibrous tissue. In advanced cases patients experience difficult breathing, coughing with sputum, chest pain, and a tendency to develop tuberculosis or repeated attacks of pneumonia. Once fibrosis has developed there is no cure, and treatment is directed at the management of symptoms. Preventive measures adopted in industries where the hazard of silicosis exists have greatly reduced its incidence.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

More on silicosis from Infoplease:

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Pathology

Premium Partner Content
HighBeam Research
Documents Images and Maps Reference
(from Newspapers, Magazines, Journals, Newswires, Transcripts and Books)

Research our extensive archive of more than 80 million articles from 6,500 publications.

Additional search results provided by HighBeam Research, LLC. © Copyright 2005. All rights reserved.

24 X 7

Private Tutor

Click Here for Details
24 x 7 Tutor Availability
Unlimited Online Tutoring
1-on-1 Tutoring