Thursday, May 22, 2008

Silicosis in India

Though there has been so much news out of South Africa and Turkey regarding those countries' struggles to combat silicosis, government officials in India have also been struggling with how to deal with an increase in silicosis victims. A recent feature in the Times of India highlights the struggles of a twenty-something man who is dying of silicosis. Most of the man's family has also died from the disease that he contracted after working in a quartz crushing factory in the Indian state of Gujarat. The crushed quartz is then used in the making of glass products.

From many of our posts, it may seem that silicosis is a relatively new occupational health issue, when in actuality this is far from the truth. Dr. Basil Varkey, who wrote the WebMD article on the silicosis, notes that while the condition has been noted as an occupational health hazard for centuries, more cases are now being reported due to an increase in mechanized stone-crushing practices. This increase combined with a lack of modern industrial hygiene practices in the developing world is leading to a noticeable increase in silicosis cases worldwide.

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