Of the 900 patients analyzed for around twenty years, the CDC found that eight dentists and one dental technician - all of whom were men - had IPF. This number may not seem significant, but it's nonetheless 1 percent of the total number of people affected by the disease.
One questionnaire given to a living IPF patient before he died revealed that he cleaned and polished dental equipment and prepared amalgams and impressions without respiratory protection, the CDC study reported. "Substances used during these tasks contained...known or potential respiratory toxicity. Although no clear etiologies for this cluster exist, occupational exposures possibly contributed".
The investigation took place after a dentist, who was diagnosed with IPF, reported the alarming pattern found at the Virginia Care Center to the CDC.
The CDC said, "Although IPF has been associated with certain occupations, no published data exist regarding IPF in dentists". Though the agency has mentioned that dentists and dental personnel are exposed to ionizing radiation, airborne particulates, chemicals, infectious agents and other likely hazardous materials.More news: Tillerson cuts short Africa trip to return to Washington
IPF is a kind of lung disease that leads to lung scarring or fibrosis for reasons that are still unknown, according to the Lung Association.
However, pulmonary fibrosis can cause damage to the lung tissues as per the U.S National Institute of Health.
The scarring gets worse over time and the patient finds it hard to take deep breaths and the lungs can not take in ample oxygen.
When there is no visible cause for this scarring, the condition is idiopathic.More news: USA and European arms sales to Middle East soar amid widespread conflict
"Dentists and other dental personnel have unique exposures at work". Doctors are still unsure of what causes the disease, which kills patients between three and five years after diagnosis.
While the doctors can not find what caused the scarring condition to the cluster of dentists, some experts have suggested viral infections, cigarette smoking, and occupations where exposure to dust, wood dust, and metal dust are common, as the contributing factors to IPF. The initial stage, symptoms that most of the patient's experience is dry chronic cough, joint and muscle pain, weight loss, clubbed fingers and toes, as well as shortness of breath.
The chief policy officer of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry says the report is "not surprising", especially because the IPF patients were older and may not have been using modern practices and protections.More news: Sergio Aguero sidelined for two weeks with left knee injury