Nearly 23,000 people in the U.S. developed job-related lung disease in 2008, according to the Department of Labor. Each year, more than 16,000 die from these diseases. Workers in the following industries may be at an increased risk for developing lung disease on-the-job. Facts and statistics are courtesy of Health.com.
Miners- Silicosis and Black Lung
Miners are at high risk for a number of lung diseases. Airborne silica, also known as quartz, can lead to silicosis, a disease that causes inflammation and swelling in the lungs and shortness of breath. People with severe silicosis may need a lung transplant.
Exposure to coal dust also puts coal miners at risk for another type of lung-scarring disease, called pneumoconiosis, or black lung. Rates of black lung have almost doubled in the last 10 years, with close to 9% of miners with 25 years of experience testing positive for black lung in 2005-2006.
Construction Workers- Mesothelioma and Asbestosis
Construction workers who inhale dust can be at risk for lung cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestosis—a disease that causes scarring and stiffening of the lungs. In 2004, approximately 1,500 people died from asbestosis and another 2,657 people died from mesothelioma.
Factory Workers- COPD and Bronchiolitis Obliterans
Factory workers exposed to dust, chemicals, and gases are at risk for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Additionally, for those who work in food plants, diacetyl, a compound used in artificial butter flavoring, can cause bronchiolitis obliterans, a rare and life-threatening disease of the lungs in which bronchioles are compressed and narrowed by fibrosis and inflammation. The only known cure for bronchiolitis obliterans is lung transplantation.
Delivery Drivers and Railroad Workers- COPD
Delivery truck drivers, those who unload merchandise on loading docks, and railroad industry workers can be exposed to diesel exhaust, placing them at risk for COPD. More than 12 million people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with COPD and the disease is one of the leading causes of death in the country.
Textile Industry Workers- Byssinosis and Chronic Bronchitis
Byssinosis, also called cotton bract disease and mill fever, is a disease of the lung brought on by breathing cotton dust and is common among people who work in the textile industry. Continued exposure can lead to reduced lung function and chronic bronchitis.
Contact an Experienced Workplace Accident Attorney
Thomas J. Henry Injury Attorneys fight to protect the rights of injury victims. If you have developed lung disease due to on the job duties, contact Thomas J. Henry Injury Attorneys. The goal of our offices is to not only protect your rights, but to send a message so the same tragedy does not happen again.
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