What scratches quartz

What is a pneumonia?

Pneumoconiosis is also called pneumoconiosis (Greek: pneuma = Air, konis = Dust). These are lung diseases that are characterized by various changes in the lung tissue (reactive, with and without functional impairment) after inhalation and deposition of inorganic dust in the deeper airways. Black lung diseases are among the most common legally recognized occupational diseases that are subject to compensation.

How dust clogs the lungs

Due to their high air throughput of around 20,000 liters per day, the lungs are exposed to a considerable extent to pollutants that occur in the environment, at work or in living areas, and as aerosol aerosols
Aerosols are mixtures of solid or liquid particles in a gas mixture such as air. The tiny particles can float in it for a long time. get into the air. Such pollutants can be of organic origin (e.g. allergens, allergens
These are substances that are classified as "foreign" by the body's immune system and are therefore attacked, which leads to an excessive defense reaction (= allergy with hypersensitivity of the body to the respective allergen).
A distinction is made between animal, plant and chemical allergens, with almost any environmental substance can trigger an allergy. A potential allergen is a substance that, due to its biochemical nature, can cause an allergic reaction more frequently than other substances.
, Mucociliary clearance, microorganisms) or of an inorganic nature (e.g. dusts, gases, vapors, fumes). During physical work, the amount of air breathed increases considerably, up to around 200,000 liters per day.

A healthy lung has several mechanisms to get rid of inhaled foreign particles (e.g. dust particles): Larger particles are caught in the nose and removed with the nasal secretions. Smaller particles get into the deeper airways and are then transported back into the larger bronchi and the windpipe due to a special cleaning system with cilia (mucociliary clearance) and coughed up.

Particles with a diameter larger than 10 µm (1 micrometer corresponds to a thousandth of a millimeter) - the so-called coarse dust - mostly stick to the nasal hairs or the mucous membranes of the nasopharynx. Smaller and very small dust particles (fine dust fine dust
Fine dust is considered toxic and, according to estimates by the EU Commission, costs many Europeans their lives every year. With a size of less than 10 µm fine dusts can float in the air (so-called airborne dusts) and can be inhaled by humans, so that the fine dust particles can get into the lungs and pass into the body via the alveoli. So they advance into the liver, among other things.
, ultrafine particles) can penetrate deep into the lungs (alveoli) via the trachea and bronchi. The fine dust is therefore also referred to as inhalable fine dust (particles smaller than 10 µm) or respirable (alveolar) fine dust (particles smaller than 2.5 µm). In addition to the diameter, the shape of the particles also determines where they are deposited. These physical properties of the particles are best described by the aerodynamic diameter aerodynamic diameter
When particles are deposited in the human respiratory tract, the size of the particles is decisive. In the case of spherical particles, this depends primarily on the particle diameter. In contrast, in the case of fibrous particles (such as asbestos fibers), the length of the particles is more decisive. When calculating the “aerodynamic diameter”, these two properties (diameter and length) are taken into account.

Other factors, in particular the chemical composition of the inhaled dust particles, are important for the biological effects of the dust particles on the lung tissue. Some dusts are relatively inert (inert) and cause only minimal tissue changes even when they are massively deposited. Subjective complaints and functional impairments can then be absent in such cases and the prognosis is good - for example in the case of anthracosis-anthracosis
Anthracosis is the deposition of coal dust in the alveoli, the spaces between the cells of the bronchi and in the vicinity of blood or lymph vessels as well as in lymphatic ducts and nodes.
after inhaling soot and in siderosis after inhaling iron dust.

Effects of quartz and asbestos dust

However, other dusts have significant biological effects: Quartz and certain asbestos fibers (especially blue asbestos) - according to their main effect - are classified as scarring (fibrogenic) dusts, as they become progressive after frequent exposure over a long period (due to chronic inhalation) Remodeling of the lung tissue (pulmonary fibrosis) leads to functional impairment of breathing and gas exchange (ventilation and diffusion disorders). The main characteristic is an increasing shortness of breath during physical exertion, whereby the symptoms of the disease usually only disappear after a latency period of years - or occasionally even decades - symptom-free latency
It describes the period of time between the start of exposure to a pollutant and the first appearance of illness-related symptoms. The latency period for asbestosis can be between 10 and 40 years, with an average of 17 years. For tumor diseases caused by asbestos, it is usually much longer.
develop. Even when the chronic exposure has ended - for example in the case of a worker who retires after decades of professional activity with asbestos materials - the disease process can continue to progress. Dusts containing both asbestos and quartz can also lead to cancer and other secondary diseases.

Pneumonia - one of the most common occupational diseases in Germany

The lung diseases caused by quartz and asbestos are among the most common recognized occupational diseases that are subject to compensation in Germany (see table below) and thus rank immediately after the front-runner noise-induced hearing loss. Only work-related skin diseases (occupational dermatoses) are of similar importance. However, while occupational diseases caused by noise and occupational dermatoses are currently on the decline, the number of reported suspected cases and of asbestoses and asbestos-related diseases recognized as occupational diseases (e.g. lung / larynx cancer and malignant mesothelioma mesothelioma is increasing
Benign or malignant tumor that originates from the unicellular layer of cells on the surface of certain organs (squamous epithelium of the serous membranes), for example the pleura, the peritoneum or the pericardium.
) in spite of improved occupational health and safety measures and the asbestos production and use ban issued in 1993 (see table). This is due on the one hand to the widespread prevalence of asbestos into the 1970s and on the other hand to the long latency period of these diseases.


Frequency of recognized occupational diseases in Germany (a selection)

Occupational disease

List no.

Number 2002

Number 2003

Number 2004

Lung / throat cancer as a result of asbestos4104755785842
Benign or malignant tumor that originates from the unicellular layer of cells on the surface of certain organs (squamous epithelium of the serous membranes), for example the pleura, the peritoneum or the pericardium.
as a result of asbestos
Lung cancer due to quartz4112206078