Wood Charcoal and Activated Carbon Dust Pneumoconiosis in Three Workers

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Data on prevalence of lung diseases due to inhalation of carbonaceous materials other than mineral coal is very limited.


We present three cases of wood charcoal pneumoconiosis, two due to activated carbon, and one from wood charcoal artisan handling. to our knowledge, no clinical cases of wood charcoal pneumoconiosis, from artisan handling has been published so far.

Clinical Cases

The three cases had their X rays classified by two B-readers as p/q round opacities with profusion ranging from 2/2 to 3/3. HRCT of two of them showed a diffuse centrilobular ground glass nodular pattern with subpleural small areas of consolidations. Transbronchial biopsies showed deposition of black pigment in the bronchiolar interstice similar to the histological appearance of simple coal workers pneumoconiosis, with no signs of fibrosis. Spirometry showed no abnormalities in the three cases.


The authors point out to a probably underestimated respiratory occupational risk related to wood charcoal manipulation, which must be addressed mostly in developing countries, where deficient workplace conditions can lead to exposure above limit levels.

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