Health risks from quartz dust in coalmining

Project No. FFFF 0190


completed 12/2001


Exposition to silica dust may lead to lung cancer. Most of epidemiological studies suffer from weak longitudinal exposure and fibrosis data, both available for german coalmining.


Mortality follow-up of 4.581 coal miners over 18 years, analysis of pneumoconiosis from x-ray (ILO-classifikation), calculation of individual quartz dust exposure; modelling of correlations between dust exposure, pneumoconiosis development and cancer mortality.


Despite of the high quartz dust exposure no positive association to lung cancer risk could be demonstrated but a relationship with CWP was found (independent of smoking). Since a direct causal relationship between an interstitial and a bronchial disease appears to be implausible, a possible interpretation of these results points at pneumoconiosis as a biomarker for susceptibility to lung cancer. Neither fibrosis nor dust exposures are causally related to lung cancer risk in such a scenario. Interrelationships between dust exposure pneumoconiosis and cancer risk should be studied in future studies in more detail to explore this hypothesis.


Third International symposium on Silica, Silicosis, Cancer and other Diseases. 21. - 25. October 2002, Santa Margharita Ligure - Portofino, Italy

Last Update:

28 Nov 2002


Financed by:
  • Hauptverband der gewerblichen Berufsgenossenschaften (HVBG)
Research institution(s):
  • Institut für Arbeitswissenschaft RAG
  • Institut für Arbeitsmedizin Universität Köln, Abt. Arbeitsmedizin
  • Deutsche Steinkohle AG


Type of hazard:

dangerous substances


Krebserregende Stoffe, Berufskrankheit, Epidemiologie

Description, key words:

Coal mine dust exposure, quartz exposure, pneumoconiosis development, and lung cancer risk: Results from a mortality follow-up study in german coalmining