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Scleroderma - induced by profession

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a friend of mine (posting on the German sclero forum) has just found out he has scleroderma (lung fibrosis amongst other problems)...now he is a stonemason (I do not know if this is the correct translation...but basically he works with stones, cuts them, chissels them etc...you get the hang of his profession).


Now it is clear that silica is one of the well known triggers...certainly (he has a family) he would like to get insurance money of the German professional organization that normally jumps in whenever you have been permanently hurt by doing your job (yes, something like this exists in Germany)....question is: did ever anybody get through with such an argumentation that this is induced by profession? And was able to collect money from the employer/insurance...etc....or is this just no issue in the US, as something like this is not insured to begin with?


Any input anybody...as if this has never been tried or succeeded by a lawyer in the US than he will stand no chance in Germany even trying...no lawyers are more inventive and successful than in the US fighting such fights (as German courts would be much more conservative and anyway you would never get a high US setllement so that it is less attractive for lawyers who are anyway paid by the hour in Germany and not as a portion of the settlement)...so I figure, if nobody in an US court has succeeded, than there is no chance ever he finds a lawyer who helps him here in Germany and tries to fight it, left alone proofing this connection....nevertheless it is somewhat suspicious that in this comparably very small German forum there are two of his relatively rare profession...coincidence? Probably not.


Whoever knows anything about the legal status would be nice to let me know so that I can tell him...he certainly wonders how his family of 3 will survive...without his main income.



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Dear K,

I am sorry to hear of your friend on the German forum. Silica is a known cause of scleroderma. We have an entire page on it on the main site:

Causes of Scleroderma: Silica Exposure

Here is an excerpt from that page:

Scleroderma from silica is listed as a an occupational disease, recognized by the U.S. Worker's Compensation Bureau guidelines.

From the "Interim Report to the Worker's Compensation Board on Scleroderma" (Ontario, Canada): "Scleroderma was recognized as an occupational disease in the former German Democratic Republic. Its status after reunification is unclear. Dr. U. Haustein of Karl Marx University, Leipzig, has described the adjudication process as case-by-case (19). Each patient is discussed by a committee of experts (Obergutachtenkommission). Careful consideration is given to all facts such as occupational exposure time to silica, working conditions, interval until the manifestation of the disease, association with silicosis, etc.

"In South Africa, scleroderma is mentioned in the Occupational Diseases in Mines and Works Act (78 of 1973). This act originated in 1911 and was aimed at improving working conditions in all South African mines. Many aspects of the Act relate to "risk work" and "compensatable disease". Risk work, in practice, is all work below the natural surface of the earth and certain surface operations (work in crusher houses, reduction plants, and on slime dams)."

Silicosis: Medical/Legal Pitfalls To evaluate disability due to silicosis, one must document a reduction in pulmonary function that is sufficient to prevent the person from engaging in gainful employment or activities of daily living. 2004 eMedicine.

Warm Hugs,


Shelley Ensz

Founder and President

International Scleroderma Network (ISN)

Hotline and Donations: 1-800-564-7099


The most important thing in the world to know about scleroderma is sclero.org.

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