Severe Silicosis in Engineered Stone Fabrication Workers: US and Global Perspectives
Presented By: Robert Harrison, MD, MPH
Public Health Medical Officer, California Department of Public Health
Clinical Professor of Medicine, University of California San Francisco
Respirable crystalline silica exposure causes silicosis, a disabling and sometimes fatal lung disease. Over the past several years, hundreds of cases of silicosis (many with severe progressive disease) have been reported worldwide among workers who cut, polish and grind countertops made of engineered ("artificial") stone. The first cluster of silicosis - including two fatalities in California - was reported by Dr. Robert Harrison and colleagues in September 2019 among engineered stone fabrication workers in four States. Several cases also had autoimmune disease and latent tuberculosis infection. Dr. Harrison will describe the identification of the outbreak in the US, implications for clinical practice, and recommendations for prevention.
At the completion of this webinar, participants will be able to:
Identify methods for public health investigation and tracking of an emerging hazard and disease
Name a spectrum of silica-related diseases
Apply knowledge to improve screening and case detection for silicosis based on OSHA silica standard requirements and best medical evidence
Dr. Harrison is a medical officer with the California Department of Public Health and Clinical Professor at the University of California, San Francisco in the Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. He established the UCSF Occupational Health Services in 1984, where he has diagnosed and treated thousands of work and environmental injuries and illnesses. He has designed and implemented numerous medical monitoring programs for workplace exposures, and has consulted widely with employers, health care professionals, and labor organizations on the prevention of work-related injuries and illnesses. Dr. Harrison has led many work and environmental investigations of disease outbreaks. He has served as a technical and scientific consultant to Federal OSHA and CDC/NIOSH, and was a member of the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board. He is currently the Director of the NIOSH-funded Occupational Health Internship Program, and Associate Director of the UCSF Occupational and Environmental Medicine Residency Program. His research interests include the collection and analyses of California and national data on the incidence of work-related injuries and illnesses. Dr. Harrison has authored or co-authored more than 50 peer-reviewed journal articles, and more than 40 book chapters/contributed articles/letters to the editor. He is the co-editor of the most recent edition of the textbook Occupational and Environmental Medicine (McGraw-Hill Education, New York, NY, 2014).