What is Pneumoconiosis?


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Pneumoconiosis refers to a range of occupational lung diseases which are caused by working in environments that are dusty. When dust is inhaled, it can stay in the lungs which can then cause lung damage and other health problems.

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Types of pneumoconiosis


Asbestosis is the most common type of pneumoconiosis and it affects people who have been exposed to asbestos. When asbestos fibres are inhaled they can become lodged in the lungs and cause permanent lung damage.

Coal Worker's Pneumoconiosis

Coal worker’s pneumoconiosis, often called ‘black lung’, affects coal miners and anyone working with coal. When the coal dust is inhaled, it can affect and damage the lung tissue. The reason it is called ‘black lung’ is because the dust from the coal makes the lungs appear black.

Kaolin Pneumoconiosis

Kaolin or China Clay is often used in the ceramics and paper industries and people exposed to kaolin dust are at risk of developing kaolin pneumoconiosis. This type of pneumoconiosis differs from the others as sufferers sometimes experience no symptoms at all.


Siderosis, which is sometimes referred to as ‘welder’s lung’ and is something welders and metal workers are at risk of contracting if they inhaled iron particles and other fumes in the welding industry.


Byssinosis, or ‘brown lung’, is a disease that affects people who work in the hemp, flax, cotton and other textile production industries. Inhaling dust from vegetable fibres are what caused byssinosis.


Berylliosis is the rarest type of pneumoconiosis and it affects people working in the aerospace, telecommunications and nuclear industries. Workers who are exposed to beryllium and its compounds can lead to chronic lung disease.

Symptoms of pneumoconiosis

As there are so many types of pneumoconiosis and different substances are responsible for causing each one, symptoms tend to vary between them. For example, the main symptom of coal worker’s pneumoconiosis (black lung) is producing a black coloured mucus, whereas this wouldn’t be a symptom of the other types.

Asbestosis is another type of pneumoconiosis which has unique symptoms which include clubbed fingers and abnormalities in the nails.

The following symptoms are common for all types of pneumoconiosis:

  • Coughing
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain

How to diagnose and treat pneumoconiosis

If you believe you have been expose to a substance which may have caused pneumoconiosis, you should see your GP as soon as possible. It is likely that your doctor will send you for a lung function test and a chest x-ray to see if there is any damage to your lungs. A CT test may also be recommended.

If there is any pneumoconiosis detected after various tests, you will be referred to a specialist for further testing before treatment begins.

Can I make a claim for pneumoconiosis?

If you experience any symptoms associated with pneumoconiosis or have been officially diagnosed with any type, then you may be entitled to make a claim. This is generally on the basis that you have sustained illness through the negligence of someone else, and through no fault of your own.

Get in touch with CL Legal today to start your claim:

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