Pneumoconiosis ranks first among various occupational hazards in China, involving 440,000 sufferers, said an official from the Ministry of Health at a medical-care symposium held in Haikou of southernmost China's Hainan Province.
Of the total patients, 140,000 have died, added Qi Xiaoqiu, head of the disease control and prevention department of the ministry.
Occupational hazards involve 30-odd sectors in China, including coal, metallurgical, non-ferrous metal, oil, petrochemical, chemical, pharmaceutical, building materials and nuclear power sectors. Among the diseases, pneumoconiosis and occupational toxicosis are the leading threats, said Qi.
As China has become one of manufacturing bases of the world, new occupational diseases will come out. It is imperative for China to properly address the occupational health problems, so as to achieve sustainable development of economy and society, said Qi.
Attaching great importance to occupational health, China has improved related regulation system in recent years, which has helped better people's working and living conditions, said Qi.
16 million suffering from mental disorders
Expenses on mental health ranked first among all diseases in China, making up 20 percent of the total spending, said Qi.
The proportion is expected to reach 25 percent in 2020, said Qi.
According to Qi, there are approximately 16 million mental disorder sufferers in China.
Abnormal behaviors of children, psychological problems of students, senile dementia and depression, drug abuse and suicide attempts are on the rise across the nation.
Qi said China has built 600-plus medical institutes targeted at mental disorders, involving 120,000 beds and 15,000 doctors for the sufferers.
(Xinhua News Agency December 31, 2005)