An average adult takes 20,000 breaths each day. Certain pollutants including dirt, fibers, germs, chemicals, smoke and dust may cause some individuals’ lungs to function differently others. Those who work in industries in which they’re surrounded by these are at increased risk for developing Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), cancer, an infection, fibrosis or scarring.
Exposure to certain hazardous chemicals can affect your lungs’ ability to function as intended. There are some steps that you can take if you work in a high-risk job to minimize your risk of lung problems though. Two of the most important steps that you can take are to wear protective clothing and to better ventilate the area that you’re working in.
There are several careers that carry with them a high risk of lung disease.
Construction workers are at the strongest risk for coming in contact with cancer-causing asbestos fibers. They often are exposed to them while handling floor tiles and insulation. Individuals who work among these fibers are at increased risk of developing mesothelioma or small-cell lung cancer.
If you work as a housekeeper, then you may want to ask your employer to consider swapping out abrasive cleaning products for more natural, green ones. Those that contain toxic, reactive chemicals may cause both allergic reactions and respiratory problems, including asthma.
Hairstylists are often exposed to chemicals that can cause either respiratory illness or cancer regularly when they color or straighten clients’ hair.
Those who work at an auto body shop spray painting cars for a living frequently are exposed isocyanates, chemicals that are known to cause occupational asthma. This condition is often so debilitating that workers are forced to quit their role in the industry and find other work in another one.
Farmers who breathe in grain dust are at risk for the flu-like condition known as “organic dust toxic syndrome”. If it’s moldy, then they may be at risk for developing hypersensitivity pneumonitis. Farmers can reduce their risk of developing these conditions by avoiding grain that’s been stored in damp spaces and by wearing a respirator.
Those who work as coal miners, in manufacturing, as firefighters, in health care and in food service are also at risk for lung-related occupational diseases. Many of these conditions are permanent. A workplace illness attorney can provide you with sound advice on your disabling condition and whether you’re entitled to compensation for it.