Occupational Lung Disease Underlying Cause
Most cases of pneumoconiosis are caused by mineral dust, but any type of dust may damage the lungs. The dust can accumulate in the small airways, causing inflammation and infection.
Toxic dust causes symptoms and lung damage after brief exposures. Dust that is not irritating or toxic can build up in the lungs without causing symptoms for a long time. Lung scarring and a decline in lung function will eventually occur, causing difficulty breathing, wheezing and other symptoms of chronic lung disease.
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- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Changing patterns of pneumoconiosis mortality--United States, 1968-2000. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2004 Jul 23;53(28):627-32. 
- Fujimura N. Pathology and pathophysiology of pneumoconiosis. Curr Opin Pulm Med. 2000 Mar;6(2):140-4. 
- Pham QT. Chest radiography in the diagnosis of pneumoconiosis. Int J Tuberc Lung Dis. 2001 May;5(5):478-82.