Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), chronic, progressive lung disease of unknown cause  has been associated with certain occupations; however, no published data exist regarding IPF in dental personnel, according to a Center for Disease Control and Prevention report.

IPF be slowed, but nothing can remove the scar tissue, said The Washington Post ReporterCleve R. Wootson Jr. and over time, the lungs have difficulty getting oxygen to vital organs like the heart and brain. He noted the median survival age after diagnosis is three to five years.

According to the Washington Post story, :

“The dental professionals were 23 times more likely to have IPF than the rest of the population, the CDC said in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, released Friday. Something in their workplace environment may have been poisoning them, investigators said, although they don’t know what.”

What protective measures can dentists take? Proper ventilation and wearing a respirator during certain procedures, according to the story.

Find out where Randall J. Nett, lead author of the study and medical officer with the U.S. Public Health Service stands on the topic?

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