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Occupational respiratory diseases in the South African mining industry.
Glob Health Action. 2013 Jan 24; 6:19520.GH

Abstract

BACKGROUND

Crystalline silica and asbestos are common minerals that occur throughout South Africa, exposure to either causes respiratory disease. Most studies on silicosis in South Africa have been cross-sectional and long-term trends have not been reported. Although much research has been conducted on the health effects of silica dust and asbestos fibre in the gold-mining and asbestos-mining sectors, little is known about their health effects in other mining sectors.

OBJECTIVE

The aims of this thesis were to describe silicosis trends in gold miners over three decades, and to explore the potential for diamond mine workers to develop asbestos-related diseases and platinum mine workers to develop silicosis.

METHODS

Mine workers for the three sub-studies were identified from a mine worker autopsy database at the National Institute for Occupational Health.

RESULTS

From 1975 to 2007, the proportions of white and black gold mine workers with silicosis increased from 18 to 22% and from 3 to 32% respectively. Cases of diamond and platinum mine workers with asbestos-related diseases and silicosis, respectively, were also identified.

CONCLUSION

The trends in silicosis in gold miners at autopsy clearly demonstrate the failure of the gold mines to adequately control dust and prevent occupational respiratory disease. The two case series of diamond and platinum mine workers contribute to the evidence for the risk of asbestos-related diseases in diamond mine workers and silicosis in platinum mine workers, respectively. The absence of reliable environmental dust measurements and incomplete work history records impedes occupational health research in South Africa because it is difficult to identify and/or validate sources of dust exposure that may be associated with occupational respiratory disease.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa. gill.nelson@wits.ac.za

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

Language

eng

PubMed ID

23364097

Citation

Nelson, Gill. "Occupational Respiratory Diseases in the South African Mining Industry." Global Health Action, vol. 6, 2013, p. 19520.
Nelson G. Occupational respiratory diseases in the South African mining industry. Glob Health Action. 2013;6:19520.
Nelson, G. (2013). Occupational respiratory diseases in the South African mining industry. Global Health Action, 6, 19520. https://doi.org/10.3402/gha.v6i0.19520
Nelson G. Occupational Respiratory Diseases in the South African Mining Industry. Glob Health Action. 2013 Jan 24;6:19520. PubMed PMID: 23364097.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Occupational respiratory diseases in the South African mining industry. A1 - Nelson,Gill, Y1 - 2013/01/24/ PY - 2012/08/13/received PY - 2012/10/30/revised PY - 2012/10/31/accepted PY - 2013/2/1/entrez PY - 2013/2/1/pubmed PY - 2013/7/23/medline KW - asbestos KW - autopsy KW - diamond KW - gold KW - migrant labour KW - miners KW - platinum KW - silica KW - silicosis SP - 19520 EP - 19520 JF - Global health action JO - Glob Health Action VL - 6 N2 - BACKGROUND: Crystalline silica and asbestos are common minerals that occur throughout South Africa, exposure to either causes respiratory disease. Most studies on silicosis in South Africa have been cross-sectional and long-term trends have not been reported. Although much research has been conducted on the health effects of silica dust and asbestos fibre in the gold-mining and asbestos-mining sectors, little is known about their health effects in other mining sectors. OBJECTIVE: The aims of this thesis were to describe silicosis trends in gold miners over three decades, and to explore the potential for diamond mine workers to develop asbestos-related diseases and platinum mine workers to develop silicosis. METHODS: Mine workers for the three sub-studies were identified from a mine worker autopsy database at the National Institute for Occupational Health. RESULTS: From 1975 to 2007, the proportions of white and black gold mine workers with silicosis increased from 18 to 22% and from 3 to 32% respectively. Cases of diamond and platinum mine workers with asbestos-related diseases and silicosis, respectively, were also identified. CONCLUSION: The trends in silicosis in gold miners at autopsy clearly demonstrate the failure of the gold mines to adequately control dust and prevent occupational respiratory disease. The two case series of diamond and platinum mine workers contribute to the evidence for the risk of asbestos-related diseases in diamond mine workers and silicosis in platinum mine workers, respectively. The absence of reliable environmental dust measurements and incomplete work history records impedes occupational health research in South Africa because it is difficult to identify and/or validate sources of dust exposure that may be associated with occupational respiratory disease. SN - 1654-9880 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/23364097/Occupational_respiratory_diseases_in_the_South_African_mining_industry_ L2 - http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.3402/gha.v6i0.19520 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -