The Industrial Injuries Advisory Council (IIAC) has completed a review of occupational coverage for the prescribed disease chronic bronchitis and emphysema (now encompassed by the term chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)). Following reviews of the literature, consultation with experts in several areas, consideration of reviews commissioned by independent academic bodies and public consultation, the Council recommends that the current terms of prescription remain for chronic bronchitis and emphysema in underground coal workers, for byssinosis in cotton workers, and for emphysema in workers exposed to cadmium fume. It recommends an extension for chronic bronchitis and emphysema to include exposure to coal dust in screen workers employed at the surface of coal mines. Workers should have been employed for the equivalent of 40 years and qualifying exposures should have occurred before 1983. IIAC has also considered prescription for other occupational groups including cotton textile workers, welders, grain workers and workers exposed to silica or isocyanates. There was insufficient evidence to recommend prescription or amendment to prescription for any other occupational categories, but the IIAC will continue to monitor emerging evidence.
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