Prevalence of radiographic appearance of pneumoconiosis in an unexposed blue collar population

R. M. Castellan, W. T. Sanderson, M. R. Petersen

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Abstract

Blue collar employees currently working in environments free from exposure to respiratory hazards were examined with chest radiography and a standard occupational history questionnaire. Workers who had worked for a total of 5 yr or more in previous jobs with possible hazardous respiratory exposures were excluded. Each radiograph was read independently by 3 NIOSH-certified 'B' readers. For small opacities, the median profusion was accepted as a summary reading. The 1,422 readable films represented a population of 50.6% males, 49.4% females, 52.5% whites, 44.2% blacks, 47.0% current smokers, and 38.5% nonsmokers. The mean age was 33.8 yr, with a range from 16 to 70 yr. Small opacities of profusion ≥1/0 were identified in only 3 (0.21%) of the radiographs - 2 with small rounded opacities and 1 with small irregular opacities. Small irregular opacities of profusion category ≥0/1 were statistically associated with age, gender, and pack-years of smoking. The results suggest that using the median of 3 independent readings should rarely result in interpretation of chest radiographs as 'positive' for pneumoconiosis in active workers who have not had significant dust exposure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)684-686
Number of pages3
JournalAmerican Review of Respiratory Disease
Volume131
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1985

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine

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