To provide guidance on how to explore the possibility of an environmental aetiology in patients with interstitial lung disease.
To describe the main causes of the mineral pneumoconioses, including silicosis and asbestosis.
To describe the features of lung diseases associated with hypersensitivity, including extrinsic allergic alveolitis, chronic beryllium lung disease, and cobalt lung.
To describe some novel forms of occupational lung diseases, such as those caused by exposure to synthetic polymers.
Summary Occupational and environmental exposures can lie at the root of a wide range of interstitial lung diseases and should always be considered when making a diagnosis. A detailed history is an invaluable adjunct to any other diagnostic tests.
These diseases can be the direct result of cumulative exposure to the causative agent, or their occurrence may be mainly related to individual susceptibility.
As lifestyles and employment patterns change, the traditional pneumoconioses are being supplemented with diseases that may result from newer technologies and exposure profiles.
- ©ERS 2007