Proceedings paper

Scand J Work Environ Health 1995;21 suppl 2:58-62    pdf

Incidence of silicosis among ceramic workers in central Italy

by Cavariani F, Di Pietro A, Miceli M, Forastiere F, Biggeri A, Scavalli P, Petti A, Borgia P

The incidence of radiological silicosis was studied among 2480 male workers employed in the ceramics industry. The subjects entered the surveillance program during 1974--1987 and were followed through 1991 with annual chest radiographs. The cumulative risk of silicosis (1/1 or greater; p,q,r) reached 48% (95% confidence interval 41.5--54.9) after 30 years of employment. In a multivariate Cox's proportional hazards model, the effect of duration of exposure increased linearly up to the category of 25--29 years; an extremely high hazard risk of 14.6 was found among those with 30 years or more of exposure in comparison with those employed 10 years or less. Smoking habit also significantly contributed to the model, although its role in the biological process is unclear. In conclusion, exposure to silica dust has been associated with a high incidence of silicosis among ceramics workers. The risk estimates are consistent with the recent findings of silicosis incidence among South African gold miners.