Pneumoconiosis (silicosis, anthracosis, etc.)

Pneumoconiosis (silicosis, anthracosis, etc.) 

The pneumoconioses are a group of lung diseases caused by the lung’s reaction inhaling certain dusts. The main cause of the pneumoconioses is work-place exposure. Environmental exposures have rarely been related to these diseases. 


Pneumoconiosis doesn't show up overnight. It happens after you've spent years in a place where you breathe in fine mineral or chemical dust, such as silica, coal dust, or asbestos. When the specks of dust build up in your lungs, the immune system, your body's defense against germs, swings into action. It sees the dust particles as invaders and tries to destroy them.

Your lung tissue often gets inflamed during this process. As a result, scar tissue may form in your lungs, just as it would after an injury. Since scar tissue is less stretchy than regular lung tissue, it may become harder for you to take a full, deep breath.


Symptoms of pneumoconiosis often depend on how severe the disease is. Simple CWP may have no or few symptoms and show up only on an X-ray. PMF may cause mild to severe difficulty breathing. Symptoms may include:

  • Cough
  • Lots of phlegm
  • Shortness of breath


You may be diagnosed with pneumoconiosis if you have lung symptoms, X-ray abnormalities, and a history of working around coal, asbestos, or silica. You may also be diagnosed by having a routine X-ray during the time you are employed. Your doctor may use any of these to help make a diagnosis: 

  • Personal history of work exposure
  • Physical examination
  • Chest X-ray or CT scan to look for lung nodules, masses, and interstitial disease
  • CT scan of the chest
  • Pulmonary function studies, including blood gasses
  • Biopsy

General Rating Formula for Interstitial Lung Disease (diagnostic codes 6825 through 6833): 

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