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techkenyot.com July 23, 2018


What is IPF? Dentists are dying of this rare, incurable lung disease

13 March 2018, 10:30 | Silvia Roy

What is IPF? Dentists are dying of this rare, incurable lung disease

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are trying to figure out what killed seven from nine dental workers who were being analysed as part of a medical cluster at a Virginia hospital

USA dentists are 23 times more likely to have a rare, deadly lung disease, but no-one knows why. Out of almost 900 patients studied over roughly two decades, the CDC found eight dentists and one dental technician, all men, had the disease.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are trying to figure out what killed seven from nine dental workers who were being analyzed as part of a medical cluster at a Virginia hospital.

Only two of the nine patients-all men with an average age of 64-are still alive. "These exposures include bacteria, viruses, dust, gases, radiation, and other respiratory hazards", Randall J. Nett, lead author of the study told CNN.

"A questionnaire was administered to one of the living patients, who reported polishing dental appliances and preparing amalgams and impressions without respiratory protection", according to the CDC.

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While the doctors can not find what caused the scarring condition to the cluster of dentists, some experts have suggested viral infections, cigarette smoking, and occupations where exposure to dust, wood dust, and metal dust are common, as the contributing factors to IPF. "Substances used during these tasks contained...known or potential respiratory toxicity".

"This investigation revealed the first described cluster of dental personnel with diagnosed IPF", write the CDC doctors.

About 650,000 dental personnel work throughout the nation, he said. This is something that has happened for several years, as the chief policy officer of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry's Pediatric Oral Health & Research Center noted.

Older dentists usually fare worse, both because of increased opportunities for exposure and because they may have practiced at a time when safety standards weren't as stringent.

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"We do work with materials and with human bioproducts that are potentially damaging to our bodies if we inhale them", Casamassimo said.

The CDC investigated - and they now say there may be a connection between a higher rate of the condition at that tertiary care center, and among people who work in dentists' offices.

For example, the dentist who alerted the CDC never smoked, "but reported not wearing a National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health-certified respirator during dental activities throughout his 40-year dental practice", the CDC said.

"Dentists now do far less laboratory work in most instances even while training in school", Casamassimo told CBS News.

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It's estimated that about 200,000 people in the United States have Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) at any one time. "The likelihood of exposure to dusts and airborne chemicals is less than in the past, but still there for many dentists, particularly if they trained long ago and haven't kept up with environmental and workplace warnings".



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