Australia is amongst several countries experiencing a resurgence in the incidence of silicosis and related lung cancers and all signs point to this worrying trend continuing unless key recommendations and preventive health measures are implemented.
In the article (below) from a recently released report of modelling from Curtin University, it is estimated that around 584,050 Australian workers are currently exposed to respirable crystalline silica (RCS). Around 10,390 Australians are predicted to develop lung cancer in their lifetime as a direct result of being exposed to the dust. This translates to 1.02% of projected lung cancer cases.
Using the most up-to-date data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, and research papers, the report’s authors analysed risk estimates from exposure to silica dust to predict the future number of lung cancer and silicosis cases arising from occupational exposure to RCS, as well as intervention strategies for prevention.
Dr Kerry Hancock, Chair of RACGP Specific Interests Respiratory Medicine, is worried about the report’s findings, “‘Workers involved in the manufacture and processing of engineered stone are exposed to particularly high levels of RCS and it is of great concern that this exposure is linked to a number of adverse health effects”.