Surveillance for Silicosis Deaths Among Persons Aged 15-44 Years – United States, 1999-2015

Silicosis is usually a disease of long latency affecting mostly older workers; therefore, silicosis deaths in young adults (aged 15-44 years) suggests acute or accelerated disease. To understand the circumstances surrounding silicosis deaths among young persons, CDC analysed the underlying and contributing causes of death using multiple cause-of-death data (1999-2015) and industry and occupation information abstracted from death certificates (1999-2013). During 1999-2015, among 55 pneumoconiosis deaths of young adults with International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (ICD-10) code J62 (pneumoconiosis due to dust containing silica), (§) 38 (69%) had code J62.8 (pneumoconiosis due to other dust containing silica), and 17 (31%) had code J62.0 (pneumoconiosis due to talc dust) listed on their death certificate. Decedents whose cause of death code was J62.8 most frequently worked in the manufacturing and construction industries and production occupations where silica exposure is known to occur. Among the 17 decedents who had death certificates listing code J62.0 as cause of death, 13 had certificates with an underlying or a contributing cause of death code listed that indicated multiple drug use or drug overdose. In addition, 13 of the 17 death certificates listing code J62.0 as cause of death had information on decedent’s industry and occupation; among the 13 decedents, none worked in talc exposure-associated jobs, suggesting that their talc exposure was non-occupational. Examining detailed information on causes of death (including external causes) and industry and occupation of decedents is essential for identifying silicosis deaths associated with occupational exposures and reducing misclassification of silicosis mortality.

Authors: Mazurek JM, Wood JM, Schleiff PL, Weissman DN. ; Full Source: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. 2017 Jul 21;66(28):747-752. doi: 10.15585/mmwr.mm6628a2.