A b-read is a type of a chest x-ray that came about in the late 1940s. At that time, there was a widespread need for consistent descriptions of the abnormalities in the lungs caused by inhalation of dust.

Since its creation, the program’s objective has taken on more involvement with worker monitoring programs with various types of pneumoconiosis as well as epidemiologic evaluation and surveillance. 

What is b-read? Why do you need it? 

A b-read is a part of a program known as the b-reader program, which classifies radiographs (chest x-rays) of the pneumoconiosis (a disease caused by dust inhalation.) B-readers are specifically trained radiologists or pulmonologists that identify various dust from industries across the spectrum cause pneumoconiosis. Examples of such dust include: 

• Coal dust from mining 

• Cotton dust from textile manufacturing 

• Silica from sand and rock quarrying 

• Asbestos fibers from insulation or roofing

• Beryllium

• Aluminum oxide

• Cobalt 

• Talc

What is pneumoconiosis? 

Pneumoconiosis is a disease which settles in the lungs caused by the inhalation of dust and is most often associated with occupational lung disease. Unfortunately, pneumoconiosis develops over long periods of time, making it difficult to notice symptoms until dust particles have already entered the lungs. Typical symptoms include: 

• Difficulty breathing

• Shortness of breath 

• Persistent cough, often producing phlegm

• Tightness in the chest

How does it differ from a regular x-ray?

A b-read is a specific type of x-ray that looks for exposure and disease caused by silica and asbestos. One of the main differences from regular x-rays is the stringent protocols and systematic step-by-step evaluation that record any changes and abnormalities in/on chest x-ray caused by pneumoconiosis. 

How Examinetics can help you 

Currently, there are around 300 NIOSH-certified b-readers. As a part of our silica services, Examinetics has several veteran b-readers who’ve performed thousands of evaluations. Moreover, we have access to a panel of b-readers who can provide further insight, meet the specific request of an employer or the requirements of the Mine Safety and Health Administration.  

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This is business-to-business information intended for EHS (environmental health and safety) professionals and not intended for the final consumer. Companies should check the local regulatory status of any claim according to their individual needs, requirements and intended use.