Cadernos de Saúde Pública
Print version ISSN 0102-311X
FERREIRA, Lucille Ribeiro; PINHEIRO, Tarcísio Márcio Magalhães; SIQUEIRA, Arminda Lucia and CARNEIRO, Ana Paula Scalia. Silicosis among semiprecious gem cutters in Joaquim Felício, Minas Gerais State, Brazil. Cad. Saúde Pública [online]. 2008, vol.24, n.7, pp. 1517-1526. ISSN 0102-311X. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0102-311X2008000700006.
A cross-sectional study was performed to determine the prevalence of silicosis among semiprecious gem cutters (n = 70) and describe their clinical, epidemiological, and occupational profiles in Joaquim Felício, Minas Gerais State, Brazil, from April to December 2002. Occupational history was used with a respiratory questionnaire, chest x-ray, and spirometry. Silicosis prevalence was 7.1%. All affected individuals were men, with a mean age of 21.5 and mean exposure to silica of 7.1 years. All belonged to the informal economy and had been working at small and rudimentary workshops, using improvised lathes, with intense exposure to silica dust. According to the ILO Radiological Classification, four of the five cases of silicosis were classified as grade 1 and one as grade 3. Silicosis among gem cutters constitutes a serious public health problem that requires efforts to minimize risk through work by multidisciplinary teams from government agencies and nongovernmental organizations, with active participation by the workers themselves.
Keywords : Silicosis; Occupational Health; Working Conditions.