The black lung disease has claimed 140,000 lives in the Chinese mainland since the occupational disease report system was founded in 1950s, revealed vice Health Minister Jiang Zuojun at a televised conference for prevention and treatment of occupational diseases held in Beijing March 17.
A total of 580, 000 black lung cases have been reported in China so far, and there are 440, 000 people suffering from black lung disease at present. The number of black lung case is increasing roughly 10,000 annually. In addition, China reports nearly 30, 000 poison cases relating to occupation and use of pesticide in production. About 1,500 people die from poison.
Jiang acknowledged the occupational disease has grown so rampant in some areas that "black lung village" and "poison village" have emerged. Many laborers have become impoverished due to the disease. Moreover inappropriate settlement of disputes over occupational diseases has led to incidents that influence social harmony and stability, including blockade of road, strike, demonstration, and group appeal to higher authority for help. Occupational disease has become a grave problem that harms public health and social stability.
To strengthen prevention and treatment of occupational diseases, the Chinese government has adopted occupational health review system for construction projects; imposed strict approval for aptitude of service departments for occupational health; rectified diagnosis and appraisal for occupational disease.������
The Health Ministry has decided to launch a publicity week with feature "Safeguard laborer's health by prevention of occupational diseases", in which consultation regarding prevention and treatment of occupational disease will be offered to laborers free of charge.
By People's Daily Online