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Body Watch

Lung Illness Claims More Blacks Than Whites

February 07, 1996

During Black History Month, the American Lung Assn. reports that the mortality rates due to lung disease among blacks is 19.6% higher than that of whites. Other facts:

* In 1993, the prevalence of asthma among blacks was more than 22% higher than among whites; blacks represented 12% of the population in the United States, but constituted 21% of all asthma deaths.

* In 1993, 26% of blacks smoked; while blacks smoke fewer cigarettes per day than whites, on average they tend to smoke brands with higher nicotine levels.

* The lung cancer rate for black males is nearly 50% higher than for white males.

* About 86% of blacks live in an urban setting, increasing their exposure to a considerable amount of environmental pollutants.

* Occupational lung disease is the No. 1 work-related illness in the United States.

* Non-Hispanic blacks are more likely to contract active tuberculosis than are whites.

* Sacroidosis, a disease of the lungs in which small areas of inflamed cells (granulomas) appear, affects blacks more than whites. The prevalence rate is 40 per 100,000 for blacks compared with five per 100,000 for whites.

For more information, call the American Lung Assn. at (800) LUNG-USA.

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