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Workplace toxin exposure and chronic lung conditions

When employees work in an environment where they are forced to breath in toxins or are exposed to poor air conditions, they may develop chronic lung conditions over time. It is the employers’ responsibility to keep workplace conditions safe for their workers, and they may be forced to pay workers’ compensation if their employees contract a condition that affects their health and overall quality of life.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are several lung conditions that employees can contract, and some of these diseases may be life threatening. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder is one of these life-threatening conditions that affects a person’s ability to breath. Nearly 15 percent of COPD cases are caused by occupational settings, such as plastic and rubber manufacturing plants, construction and coal mines.

Asthma is another common occupational condition. While some workplaces cause people to develop asthma, others simply aggravate a preexisting condition. The CDC reports that nearly two million workers across the U.S. suffer from asthma that they have developed from poor workplace ventilation.

Other toxins, including silica and asbestos can cause long-term damage to the lung tissue when inhaled. The small mineral fibers and particles get into the lung tissue and create a buildup that makes it difficult to breathe. In addition, the fibers can go through the lungs and into the tissue that surrounds the exterior of the lungs. This can result in mesothelioma, or cancer of the lung tissue, which has a particularly high death rate amongst U.S. workers. 

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