Silicosis in Turkish denim sandblasters

Occup Med (Lond). 2006 Dec;56(8):554-8. doi: 10.1093/occmed/kql094. Epub 2006 Oct 4.


Background: Sandblasting of jeans in small Turkish workshops has recently been recognized as a cause of silicosis.

Case series: Between August 2004 and March 2006, we admitted 16 young men with a history of working in small workplaces producing sandblasted jeans. Of these, 14 presented with respiratory symptoms and the remaining two through awareness of their work colleagues. In the first two cases, open-lung biopsy was required to confirm the diagnosis of silicosis. Later cases were diagnosed through a combination of their work history and the clinical and radiological findings. The mean age at presentation was 23 years with mean duration of employment as a sandblaster being 3 years. The first two cases died and the remainder, except two, are still receiving treatment.

Conclusion: The production of sandblasted jeans in small uncontrolled workplaces may entail significant exposure to silica and the development of rapidly fatal silicosis. Urgent action is required to prevent further cases and mortality.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Humans
  • Lung / diagnostic imaging
  • Lung / pathology
  • Male
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects
  • Radiography
  • Respiratory Function Tests
  • Silicosis / epidemiology
  • Silicosis / etiology*
  • Silicosis / physiopathology
  • Textile Industry*
  • Turkey / epidemiology