PDF Occupational and Environmental Lung Diseases: Diseases from Work, Home, Outdoor and Other Exposures

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Environmental Medicine

Acute Bronchitis. Table of Contents. What is occupational respiratory disease? It also includes forms of asthma, bronchitis, or emphysema. Symptoms of occupational respiratory disease The symptoms of occupational respiratory disease vary. Symptoms can be similar to those of a cold, the flu, or allergies, such as: dry, scratchy, or sore throat runny nose cough fever tight chest chest pain muscle or body aches breathing problems, such as shortness of breath or abnormal breathing Contact your doctor if symptoms persist and seem to occur at work.

What causes occupational respiratory disease? Common causes include: Dustfrom things such as wood, cotton, coal, asbestos, silica, and talc. Pesticides, drug or enzyme powders, and fiberglass also can hurt your lungs. Even cereal grains, coffee particles, and food flavorings used to make microwave popcorn can cause damage. Fumesfrom metals that are heated and cooled quickly.

This process results in fine, solid particles being carried in the air. Job examples include welding, smelting, furnace work, pottery making, plastics manufacturing, and rubber operations. Smokefrom burning materials. Smoke can contain a variety of particles, gases, and vapors. Firefighters are at an increased risk. Gasessuch as formaldehyde, ammonia, chlorine, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxides.

These are found at jobs with high heat operations, such as welding, brazing, smelting, oven drying, and furnace work.

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You also are at risk if you work in a lab using chemicals. Vaporsare a form of gas given off by all liquids. Vapors usually irritate your nose and throat before they affect the lungs. Mists or spraysfrom paints, lacquers such as varnish , hair spray, pesticides, cleaning products, acids, oils, and solvents such as turpentine. How is occupational respiratory disease diagnosed?

Interstitial Lung Disease (ILD) Secondary to Environmental Exposures

They will review your symptoms and ask questions, such as: When did your symptoms first appear? How often do you have symptoms? What time of day are your symptoms worse? What type of materials do you come into contact with at work? A record of symptoms, including the day, time, and duration. A list of previous jobs, hobbies, and smoking habits, if any.

Completed occupational health history forms. A list of precautions and measures in your workplace. These are information sheets about the products used in your workplace. All employers are required by law to complete and provide these forms. Can occupational respiratory disease be prevented or avoided? Things you can do are: Stop smoking.

Wear a mask. Increase ventilation in work area. Use a respirator. This is a device that covers your nose and mouth. It cleans the air before it enters your body. You should clean the respirator after each use. Know and follow workplace safety precautions and first-aid processes. Workplaces should have programs in place to monitor and limit exposure. Occupational respiratory disease treatment There is no cure for occupational respiratory disease. Living with occupational respiratory disease Talk to your employer if you are diagnosed.

Questions to ask your doctor What should I do if I think something at work is making me sick? Will occupational respiratory disease affect my life expectancy? Last Updated: March 27, This article was contributed by: familydoctor. In late , the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services called lead the "number one environmental threat to the health of children in the United States. Airborne lead enters the body when an individual breathes or swallows lead particles or dust once it has settled.

Before it was known how harmful lead could be, it was used in paint, gasoline, water pipes, and many other products. Old lead-based paint is the most significant source of lead exposure in the U. Harmful exposures to lead can be created when lead-based paint is improperly removed from surfaces by dry scraping, sanding, or open-flame burning.

Asthma at Work Facts

High concentrations of airborne lead particles in homes can also result from lead dust from outdoor sources, including contaminated soil tracked inside, and use of lead in certain indoor activities such as soldering and stained-glass making. Lead affects practically all systems within the body. At high levels it can cause convulsions, coma, and even death.

Lower levels of lead can adversely affect the brain, central nervous system, blood cells, and kidneys. The effects of lead exposure on fetuses and young children can be severe. They include delays in physical and mental development, lower IQ levels, shortened attention spans, and increased behavioral problems. Fetuses , infants, and children are more vulnerable to lead exposure than adults since lead is more easily absorbed into growing bodies, and the tissues of small children are more sensitive to the damaging effects of lead.

Children may have higher exposures since they are more likely to get lead dust on their hands and then put their fingers or other lead-contaminated objects into their mouths. Get your child tested for lead exposure. To find out where to do this, call your doctor or local health clinic. Leave lead-based paint undisturbed if it is in good condition - do not sand or burn off paint that may contain lead.

In recent years, a number of consumers have associated a variety of symptoms with the installation of new carpet.

Illustrative Case

Scientists have not been able to determine whether the chemicals emitted by new carpets are responsible. If you are installing new carpet, you may wish to take the following steps:. Building a new home provides the opportunity for preventing indoor air problems.

creatoranswers.com/modules/williamson/la-chica-de-mis-suenos.php However, it can result in exposure to higher levels of indoor air contaminants if careful attention is not given to potential pollution sources and the air exchange rate. Express your concerns about indoor air quality to your architect or builder and enlist his or her cooperation in taking measures to provide good indoor air quality. Talk both about purchasing building materials and furnishings that are low-emitting and about providing an adequate amount of ventilation. Particular care should be given in such homes to preventing the build-up of indoor air pollutants to high levels.

There are many actions a homeowner can take to select products that will prevent indoor air problems from occurring - a couple of them are mentioned here. First, use exterior-grade pressed wood products made with phenol-formaldehyde resin in floors, cabinetry, and wall surfaces.

Or, as an alternative, consider using solid wood products. Secondly, if you plan to install wall-to-wall carpet on concrete in contact with the ground, especially concrete in basements, make sure that an effective moisture barrier is installed prior to installing the carpet.

Do not permanently adhere carpet to concrete with adhesives so that the carpet can be removed if it becomes wet. Air that enters the home through the foundation can contain more moisture than is generated from all occupant activities. Combustion gases, including carbon monoxide, and particles can be back-drafted from the chimney or flue into the living space if the combustion appliance is not properly vented or does not receive enough supply air.

Back-drafting can be a particular problem in weatherized or tightly constructed homes. Installing a dedicated outdoor air supply for the combustion appliance can help prevent backdrafting. Indoor air quality problems are not limited to homes. In fact, many office buildings have significant air pollution sources.

Some of these buildings may be inadequately ventilated. For example, mechanical ventilation systems may not be designed or operated to provide adequate amounts of outdoor air. Finally, people generally have less control over the indoor environment in their offices than they do in their homes. As a result, there has been an increase in the incidence of reported health problems. A number of well-identified illnesses, such as Legionnaires' disease, asthma, hypersensitivity pneumonitis, and humidifier fever, have been directly traced to specific building problems.

These are called building-related illnesses. Most of these diseases can be treated, nevertheless, some pose serious risks. Sometimes, however, building occupants experience symptoms that do not fit the pattern of any particular illness and are difficult to trace to any specific source. This phenomenon has been labeled sick building syndrome. People may complain of one or more of the following symptoms: dry or burning mucous membranes in the nose, eyes, and throat; sneezing; stuffy or runny nose; fatigue or lethargy; headache; dizziness; nausea; irritability and forgetfulness.