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Lung Diseases Rank 1st in Occupational Hazards

Lung diseases, such as pneumoconiosis, rank first among occupational hazards in China, afflicting 440,000 patients, according to the Ministry of Health.

Qi Xiaoqiu, a senior official from the ministry, made the disclosure at a recent medical-care symposium in Haikou, capital of southern China's Hainan Province.

Of the total patients, 140,000 have died, said Qi, head of the disease control and prevention department of the ministry.

Occupational hazards involve 30 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, a disease condition caused by poisoning, are the leading threats, said Qi.

As China has become one of the world's manufacturing bases, new occupational diseases will emerge.

Attaching great importance to occupational health, China has improved work regulation systems in recent years, which has improved people's working and living conditions, said Qi.

It is imperative to properly address occupational health problems, so as to achieve sustainable development of economy and society, said Qi.

On another issue, Qi said expenses on mental health ranked first among all diseases in China, making up 20 percent of the total spending. The proportion is expected to reach 25 percent in 2020.

(Xinhua News Agency December 31, 2005)


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