Today’s post was shared by Jon L Gelman and comes from www.cdc.gov
During September 1996–June 2017, nine (1%) of 894 patients treated for IPF at a single tertiary care center in Virginia were identified as dental personnel. Each patient presented for care during 2000–2015. Seven of the patients had died. This is the first known described cluster of IPF occurring among dental personnel. Although no clear etiology exists for this cluster, it is possible that occupational exposures contributed to the development of IPF.
During 2016, dentists accounted for an estimated 0.038% of U.S. residents (4), yet represented 0.893% of patients undergoing treatment for IPF at one tertiary care center, nearly a 23-fold difference. Dental personnel are exposed to infectious agents, chemicals, airborne particulates, ionizing radiation, and other potentially hazardous materials (5). Inhalational exposures experienced by dentists likely increase their risk for certain work-related respiratory diseases. For example, cases of dental technicians with pneumoconiosis, a restrictive occupational lung disease resulting from inhalation of dust, have been identified after exposure to either silica or cobalt-chromium-molybdenum-based dental prostheses (6,7). A case of pneumoconiosis was identified postmortem in an elderly dentist who died from respiratory failure (8). Examination of lung tissue at autopsy using scanning electron microscopy revealed particles consistent with alginate impression powders used during the dentist’s practice. Nine cases of…