A new report from the CDC bring attention to Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF).(1) This is a build up of fibrous tissue in the lungs that progressively reduces the ability to breathe until death occurs.
The report says that dentists are 23 times more likely to get this disease than the general population. And it’s deadly, Typically, patients die within 2.5 to 3.5 years following diagnosis. There is no known cure, although some patients have been treated with lung transplants.
The CDC’s attention was drawn by a dentist diagnosed with this disease, who then discovered that 7 other dentists and a dental technician in his small town in Virginia were ill with the same diagnosis.
There is no known cause for this disease, but current thinking is that there are chemicals used in dentistry that may be problems. If that’s true, obviously, dentists have much higher exposure to these chemicals than do patients.
However, doesn’t that make you feel good about your trip to the dentist?
The other point is that the CDC — a highly and deservedly respected organization — claims to be concerned about worker safety and had no clue about this issue.
Picture courtesy Wikipedia.