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Draft Expanded Chest Radiography Page Posted by NIOSH for Comment; Scope of Content Broadened

April 15, 2005
NIOSH Update:

Contact: Fred Blosser (202) 401-3749

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is inviting public comment on a draft expanded web page describing the use of chest radiography for evaluating occupational lung disorders. NIOSH is inviting comments on the draft page at until Oct. 15, 2005.

Under a long-standing program, NIOSH certifies “B Readers,” or physicians who review and classify chest X-rays to determine the presence and severity of lung disorders caused by work-related exposures to dusts such as asbestos, silica, and coal mine dust. NIOSH provides a test to determine physicians’ proficiency in making such determinations, based on internationally recognized technical criteria. By passing the test based on demonstrating such proficiency, an applicant is certified by NIOSH as a B Reader.

NIOSH’s previous web page on chest radiography was primarily intended for physicians who were interested in applying for B Reader certification. The draft expanded page includes additional description, discussion, and links to resources for practitioners and general audiences.

“The importance of the NIOSH certification program is increasingly recognized in our nation’s health surveillance, medical treatment, and illness compensation programs,” noted NIOSH Director John Howard, M.D. “Prompted by this increasing interest, and by recent revisions in international criteria that serve as a basis for the program, the draft expanded topic page is intended to provide up-to-date information for practitioners and general stakeholders alike. Whether you plan to apply for B Reader certification, or if you simply want to know more about the application of chest radiography for evaluating occupational lung disorders, we hope you will read the draft page and let us know if you have comments or questions.”

The new features of the draft expanded page for public comment include:

  • Draft NIOSH recommendations on applying the International Labor Office (ILO) system for classifying chest radiographs to identify changes associated with work-related dust exposures. Recommendations are provided for a variety of settings where classifications are used.
  • More detailed background information about chest radiographs, the various uses of chest radiograph classification, and considerations in radiograph classification; this information provides a resource for stakeholders who are just becoming familiar with the topic of chest radiography in occupational health.
  • A more detailed description of NIOSH’s B Reader certification program, including a discussion of new developments and future challenges such as the increasing use of digital radiography instead of traditional film radiography.

For more information on NIOSH, call toll-free 1-800-35-NIOSH or visit .