What is the INS
The National Institute for Silicosis (INS) is the Spanish Reference Center for technical and medical prevention of occupational respiratory diseases. The INS is located in Oviedo (Principality of Asturias - Spain) and it is a public center whose activity is focused on the primary and secondary occupational and environmental respiratory diseases prevention, carrying out training courses, researches, technical and medical prevention activities, rehabilitation medicine and consulting.
The performed activities are focused on the prevention of respiratory diseases caused by exposure to dust, respirable crystalline silica, industrial gases, radon gas, asbestos, nanoparticles, and any kind of agent harmful to workers´ and citizens´ health. For that porpouse, the Institute carries out complex technical risk assessments. In addition to this, the medical service performs pneumology status evaluations aimed to detect any disease within the field of secondary prevention, which allows early diagnosis of the pathologies.
The National Institute for Silicosis was founded in 1970, initially focused on the prevention of the effects caused by coal dust in the respiratory system, because of the high incidence of pneumoconiosis of the coal miners at that time. The general acceptance of the term "silicosis" referring to the pneumoconiosis caused by chronic exposure to coal dust, encouraged to include it in the official name, which has lasted until today. The special activities and great technical knowledge treasured throughout history led its activities towards diversification in the prevention of other respiratory diseases in addition to pneumoconiosis such as asthma, COPD, lung cancer and diseases related to asbestos exposure, among others.
At the present time the INS reaches its half century with the conviction that the measures focused on preserving the respiratory health of the affections caused by the agents present in workplaces and environment will maintain a key role for society over the next decades. The constant search for new materials to meet requirements must be accompanied by effective control of the effects caused by its use in human health, both in the workplace during handling and in the daily life of the society.