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Silicosis (also known as Grinder’s disease and Potter’s rot) is a form of occupational lung disease caused by inhalation of crystalline silica dust, and is marked by inflammation and scarring in forms of nodular lesions in the upper lobes of the lungs.

Silicosis (especially the acute form) is characterized by shortness of breath, fever, and cyanosis (bluish skin). It may often be misdiagnosed as pulmonary edema (fluid in the lungs), pneumonia, or tuberculosis.

This respiratory disease was first recognized in 1705 by Ramazzini who noticed sand-like substances in the lungs of stonecutters. The name silicosis (from the Latin silex or flint) was attributed to Visconti in 1870.

Care should be taken when cutting stone tile to prevent the inhalation of stone dust.


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Peter Phillips