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Life Years Lost Due to Pneumoconiosis Increasing

Last Updated: December 29, 2009.

The number of potential years of life lost due to coal workers' pneumoconiosis has been increasing since 2002, and preventive measures should be stepped up, according to a report published in the Dec. 25 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

TUESDAY, Dec. 29 (HealthDay News) -- The number of potential years of life lost due to coal workers' pneumoconiosis has been increasing since 2002, and preventive measures should be stepped up, according to a report published in the Dec. 25 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Jacek M. Mazurek, M.D., and colleagues at the CDC's National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health in Atlanta analyzed data on underlying causes of death from 1968 to 2006 to calculate the years of potential life lost due to pneumoconiosis among coal workers.

The researchers found that, for the period under study, 22,625 years of potential life were lost due to coal workers' pneumoconiosis, a mean 5.7 years per decedent. The disease was the underlying cause of death in 28,912 decedents aged 25 years and older. Of the decedents aged 25 to 64 years, men accounted for 99.3 percent of the total, while 22,283 (97.7 percent) of the decedents were Caucasian, the investigators note.

"Annual years of potential life lost from coal workers' pneumoconiosis have been increasing since 2002, from 135 in that year to 169 years of potential life lost in 2006, suggesting a need for strengthening coal workers' pneumoconiosis prevention measures," the authors write. "CDC intends to maintain surveillance of coal workers' pneumoconiosis deaths to determine future trends and promote safer work environments."

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