Occupational interstitial lung diseases
Pneumoconiosis is a term for a group of lung diseases caused by breathing in specific dusts in your workplace. They get lodged inside your lungs and cause scarring.
The most common type is coal worker’s pneumoconiosis, caused by breathing in coal dust. Other forms are silicosis, caused by exposure to silica dust and asbestosis, caused by breathing in asbestos.
There is often a long delay (20 years or more) between breathing in the dust and showing symptoms, so new cases usually reflect past working conditions. You’ll often be retired before you’re diagnosed.
Symptoms may include:
- shortness of breath
- persistent cough
- chest pain
- coughing up black phlegm (coal worker’s pneumoconiosis only)
If you have been exposed to certain substances in the course of your work, you may be entitled to compensation or benefits. Call our helpline to find out more.