Pneumoconiosis describes any lung disease caused by inhaling particulates. The group falls under the category of occupational diseases and includes asbestosis, silicosis, and coal workers' pneumoconiosis or CWP. CWP is more widely known by its common name: black lung disease. Pneumoconioses such as black lung disease occur when airborne dust, especially mineral dust, is inhaled at work. The color of miners' lungs after years working in the mines earned this conditin its common name. The workers' lungs were black with coal dust instead of pink. Black lung is chronic and irreversible.


1. Mechanism of Action

Coal dust particles build up in the lungs over an extended period, in the gas exchange region of the organ where oxygen is absorbed into the bloodstream, and carbon dioxide is removed from the blood through exhalation. Coal dust particles building up over decades leads to inflammation, and eventually to fibrosis or scar tissue.

Black lung disease ericsphotography / Getty Images


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