Case Report: An 11-year-old boy with silico-tuberculosis attributable to secondary exposure to sandstone mining in central India

By Midhun Mohan

This is a case about an 11-year old who developed silicosis after being exposed to sandstone mining. Stone-mining is a lucrative industry producing billions of dollars in export every year. Despite being highly profitable, the health impacts of the industry are severely under researched.

The authors state that:

“no preventive measures have been instituted in the stone-mining industry and children are exposed to respirable silica dust when their mothers take them to their work places”

Despite the fact that legislation exists to protect these workers, employers disregard the law and turn a blind eye. Extreme poverty means these workers are not able to quit thus enduring these conditions to earn a living.

Why is the state not penalising the mine owners?

Simple answer – Corruption.

Corruption aids and amplifies this situation. The state ignores the problem since the industry generates much foreign exchange.

How can these poor families be empowered to take a stance against the mine owners?