Original article

Scand J Work Environ Health 1992;18(6):393-399    pdf

doi:10.5271/sjweh.1565 | Issue date: 01 Dec 1992

Prediction of silicosis and lung cancer in the Australian labor force exposed to silica.

by Nurminen M, Corvalan C, Leigh J, Baker G

Empirical models for risk, based on recently published epidemiologic data, and simple prediction formulas were used to predict the occurrence of silicosis and lung cancer in the Australian labor force currently exposed to crystalline silica dust. As a result of an 0.9 (range 0.4-1.9)% average lifetime risk, approximately 1010 (range 380-2410) silicosis cases were predicted for the next 40 years among the estimated 136,400 men exposed at current silica dust levels [0.01-0.8 (average 0.094) mg.m-3]. Approximately 630 extra lung cancer cases (95% confidence interval 120-1320) would appear with an average excess risk of 0.5 (interval 0.1-1.1)%, the proportion of silica-induced lung cancer cases being about 15%. Currently 77% of the at-risk labor force is exposed to silica dust levels of < or = 0.1 mg.m-3. With this level as the limit, about 440 (range 140-1210) silicosis cases and 410 (interval 90-780) extra lung cancer cases would occur in 40 years. Adopting this level as the national exposure standard would reduce the risk of silicosis cases by 52% and the excess risk of lung cancer by 36%.