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What types of lung diseases can be caused by working conditions?

Many people who get up and go to work each day do not think how their jobs can affect them health-wise. However, there are certain occupations in New York that can cause illnesses which may lead to workers' compensation claims. Workers should be aware of the risks and some of the symptoms so they can get immediate treatment.

According to John Hopkins Medicine, lung diseases are the leading type of illness caused by working conditions, and they are preventable. While a majority of the cases are caused by repeated exposure, a one-time exposure to a severely hazardous substance can also cause it. These disorders are caused by unsafe dusts, chemicals and fiber that circulate in the air and get into the lungs. Some of the more common types of occupation-caused lung disease include:

  • Asbestosis
  • Silicosis
  • Black lung disease
  • Occupational asthma
  • Hypersensitivity pneumonitis
  • Byssinosis 

The Marshfield Clinic Health System discusses some common symptoms workers should be aware of if they work in higher risk occupations. These signs may include chest tightness or pain, coughing, abnormal breathing and shortness of breath. If these symptoms are present, lung illnesses can be diagnosed a variety of ways such as blood tests, x-ray, lung biopsy, CT or pulmonary function tests. 

Because lung diseases can be prevented, there are a number of steps both employers and employees can take. The work environment should be inspected on a regular basis, and employees should report about any suspected issues. Proper protective devices should be provided by the company and worn at all times when around dangerous particles and workers should refrain from smoking.

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