Purpose: The present review is aimed to introduce an new occupational lung disease, Indium Lung.
Methods: We searched case reports and epidemiological studies concerning indium-related lung diseases and reviewed.
Results: Up to March, 2010, 7 cases of interstitial pneumonia in Japanese indium-exposed workers, two cases of pulmonary alveolar proteinosis (PAP) in US indium-exposed workers, one case of PAP in a Chinese indium-exposed worker, and 4 cross-sectional surveys in Japan had been published. All cases and epidemiological studies in Japan indicate that exposure to hardly soluble indium compounds causes interstitial as well as emphysematous lung damages, which we call "Indium Lung". Based on the epidemiological studies, the Japan Society for Occupational Health proposed 3 μg/l of indium in serum as an occupational exposure limit based on biological monitoring to prevent significant increase of KL-6.
Comments: Long-term follow-up of currently and formerly indium-exposed workers is essential not only to clarify the natural history of indium lung but also to trace the incidence of lung cancer. It is also necessary to elucidate the mechanism of indium lung and difference in clinical manifestations between Japanese and US cases.