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Definition of PNEUMOCONIOSIS
: a disease of the lungs caused by the habitual inhalation of irritants (as mineral or metallic particles) — compare black lung, silicosis
Origin of PNEUMOCONIOSIS
New Latin, from pneum- + Greek konis dust — more at incinerate
First Known Use: 1881
Medical Definition of PNEUMOCONIOSIS
: a disease of the lungs caused by the habitual inhalation of irritants (as mineral or metallic particles)—called also miner's asthma, miner's consumption, pneumonoconiosis; see black lung, silicosis
Any lung disease caused by inhalation of organic or inorganic dusts or chemical irritants, usually over time. Some dusts (e.g., silica minerals, asbestos) produce grave reactions in small quantities. Dust collects in the pulmonary alveoli, causing inflammation that scars lung tissue, reducing its elasticity. Chest tightness and shortness of breath may progress to chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Cigarette smoking worsens many types. The most common cause of severe disease is silica (seesilicosis). Asbestos (seeasbestosis), beryllium, and aluminum dusts can cause worse disease, often on brief exposure. Organic causes include mold spores (seeallergy) and textile fibres. Chemical irritants such as ammonia, acid, and sulfur dioxide are soon absorbed by the lung lining; their irritant effect can cause pulmonary edema, and they can lead to chronic bronchitis.