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Asbestosis high mag.jpg
Micrograph of asbestosis (with ferruginous bodies), a type of pneumoconiosis. H&E stain.
Classification and external resources
ICD-10 J60-J65
ICD-9 500-505
DiseasesDB 31746
MeSH D011009

Pneumoconiosis is an occupational lung disease and a restrictive lung disease caused by the inhalation of dust, often in mines.


Depending upon the type of dust, the disease is given different names:


Positive indications on patient assessment:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest X-ray may show a characteristic patchy, subpleural, bibasilar interstitial infiltrates or small cystic radiolucencies called honeycombing.

Pneumoconiosis in combination with multiple pulmonary rheumatoid nodules in rheumatoid arthritis patients is known as Caplan's syndrome.[1]


Pneumoconiosis results in about 125,000 deaths a year as of 2010.[2]

Popular culture[edit]

  • In the classic British film Brief Encounter (1945), derived from a Noël Coward play, housewife Laura (Celia Johnson) and physician Alec (Trevor Howard) begin an affair. She is desperately mesmerized in a train station lounge by his evocation of his passion for pneumoconioses.
  • In the 1995 British film Brassed Off, the band leader (Pete Postlethwaite) in a small coal-mining town is hospitalized with pneumoconiosis.
  • A 2006 documentary film by Shane Roberts features interviews with miners suffering from the disease and footage shot inside the mine
  • An episode of 1000 Ways to Die featured an incident where two kitchen workers succumb to pneumoconiosis from playing in cocoa powder.
  • In the widely acclaimed Puzzle/Shooter game "Portal 2", former CEO and founder of Aperture Science Laboratories, Cave Johnson, purportedly contracted and died of lunar pneumoconiosis after prolonged exposure to the moon rocks he was using in teleportation technology research.
  • In the 2001 film "Zoolander" the "black lung" is referenced to after the male model protagonist spends one day working in a coal mine.[3]
  • In the 1939 movie, Four Wives, Eddie Albert plays a doctor studying pneumoconiosis.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Andreoli, Thomas, ed. CECIL Essentials of Medicine. Saunders: Pennsylvania, 2004. p. 737.
  2. ^ Lozano, R; Naghavi, M; Foreman, K; Lim, S; Shibuya, K; Aboyans, V; Abraham, J; Adair, T; Aggarwal, R; Ahn, S. Y.; Alvarado, M; Anderson, H. R.; Anderson, L. M.; Andrews, K. G.; Atkinson, C; Baddour, L. M.; Barker-Collo, S; Bartels, D. H.; Bell, M. L.; Benjamin, E. J.; Bennett, D; Bhalla, K; Bikbov, B; Bin Abdulhak, A; Birbeck, G; Blyth, F; Bolliger, I; Boufous, S; Bucello, C et al. (Dec 15, 2012). "Global and regional mortality from 235 causes of death for 20 age groups in 1990 and 2010: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010". Lancet 380 (9859): 2095–128. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(12)61728-0. PMID 23245604. 
  3. ^ "Zoolander (2001)". 

Further reading[edit]

  • Cochrane, A.L.; Blythe, M. (1989). One Man's Medicine, an autobiography of Professor Archie Cochrane. London: BMJ Books. ISBN 0727902776.  (Paperback ed. (2009) Cardiff University ISBN 0954088433.

External links[edit]