Pneumoconiosis death data are extracted directly from mortality data made available by the National Center for Health Statistics, National Vital Statistics System-Mortality (NVSS-M). Any mention of deaths due to asbestosis, silicosis, coal workers' pneumoconiosis, byssinosis, or other and unspecified pneumoconioses on the death certificate are counted. Specifically, deaths counted are those with one or more of the above pneumoconioses based on the ICD-10 (International Classification of Diseases, 10th revision) codes listed as underlying cause or listed on the entity axis of the multiple-cause-of-death record. Data are restricted to decedents aged 15 years and older in order to more closely represent members of the working population.
While pneumoconiosis is preventable through effective control of worker exposure to occupational dusts, there are still over an average of 2,600 pneumoconiosis deaths per year since 2000. This objective plays an important role in maintaining attention to, and as appropriate, enhancing control of occupational exposures to hazardous dusts. In tracking mortality, it is important to note that pneumoconioses are typically chronic diseases with long latency, so death is substantially delayed from initial diagnosis (which is delayed from initial exposure).