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10 Dangerous Jobs For Your Lungs

Studies have pointed out a rise in the number of diseases that are work-related. Your work environment plays a major role in your overall health which otherwise can cause various health problems affecting your heart, lungs and every other organ. About 17 per cent of diseases caused to one's lung is due to work exposure and is also pointed out to have worsened the condition of individuals who already have respiratory-related issues such as asthma [1] .

The health of your lungs can get negatively affected by pollutants such as chemicals, germs, tobacco smoke, dirt, fibres, dust etc. Things you often do not consider as being harmful to your health can, in fact, be dangerous, and can block your airway and damage your lungs. These occupational exposures can cause scarring or fibrosis, asthma, COPD, and infection or cancer [2] .

A higher percentage of people are unaware if their workspaces are safe for health, studies reveal. Are you aware? Read on to know the different types of jobs that can pose risk to your lungs.

Jobs That Are Harmful To Your Lungs

1. Housekeeping and cleaning

The cleaning supplies used are packed with a plethora of harmful chemicals that can develop and trigger asthma. The chemicals in these cleaners are reactive and can adversely react with your lung tissues [3] . The organic cleaners are no better as it releases volatile organic compounds that can cause chronic respiratory problems and allergic reactions.

2. Bartending and waitressing

Working in rooms filled with smoke is extremely harmful to your lungs. The second-hand smoke produced from these cigarettes and other smoking types of equipment (like hookahs) are some of the major causes of lung cancer [4] .

3. Hairstyling

The constant use of chemicals used for hair colouring and hair styling are harmful to your respiratory organs and can lead to occupational asthma. Many hair-straightening products contain formaldehyde, a known carcinogen which is a major cause for lung cancer and irritation [5] .

4. Healthcare

Doctors, nurses and other individuals working in the healthcare system such as hospitals, medical offices, or nursing homes are increasingly prone towards developing lung diseases. Using gloves that contain latex may cause asthma in some individuals. Tuberculosis, influenza, and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) are some of the common lung disorders found in individuals working in the healthcare field [6] .

5. Construction

Individuals working in construction are increasingly prone to developing lung diseases. They are exposed to asbestos and other microscopic fibres that can increase the risk of mesothelioma (cancer) and small-cell lung cancer [7] . These particles can also cause asbestosis or scarring of the lungs.

6. Manufacturing

Factory workers are exposed to the risk of developing asthma or worsening their existing condition. Being exposed to inhaled metals in foundries, silica or fine sand and so on, these individuals are at the risk of developing silicosis (a disease that scars the lung). Manufacturing workers have a high risk of developing lung cancer [8] .

7. Farming

People working with crops and animals are at the risk of various diseases. Repeated and continuous exposure to mould-contaminated grain or hay can cause hypersensitivity pneumonitis causing the air sacs in your lungs to become inflamed and develop scar tissues [9] .

8. Coal mining

Miners are prone to the risk of a variety of lung diseases bronchitis to pneumoconiosis. A chronic condition caused by the inhalation of dust which becomes stored in the lungs become hard and makes it difficult to breathe. This can cause the development of progressive massive fibrosis, which is deadly[10] .

9. Firefighting

These individuals are exposed to a number of things that are dangerous to one's lungs. From fire to burning plastics and chemicals, firefighters are exposed to the risk of lung cancer. However, the self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) used by them help lower the risk of lung diseases, as it helps filter some of the harmful chemicals [11] .

10. Auto body spray painting

Individuals working in auto body shops are exposed to chemicals like isocyanates, a major cause of occupational asthma. The polyurethane products in the paints cause chest tightness and severe breathing trouble as well [12] .

View Article References
  1. [1] Fishwick, D. (2018). 1737a Occupation and copd.
  2. [2] Witt, M., Goniewicz, M., Pawłowski, W., Goniewicz, K., & Biczysko, W. (2017). Analysis of the impact of harmful factors in the workplace on functioning of the respiratory system of firefighters. Ann Agric Environ Med, 24(3), 406-410.
  3. [3] Svanes, Ø., Bertelsen, R. J., Lygre, S. H., Carsin, A. E., Antó, J. M., Forsberg, B., ... & Kogevinas, M. (2018). Cleaning at home and at work in relation to lung function decline and airway obstruction. American journal of respiratory and critical care medicine, 197(9), 1157-1163.
  4. [4] Shankar, A., Dubey, A., Saini, D., Singh, M., Prasad, C. P., Roy, S., ... & Khanna, M. (2019). Environmental and occupational determinants of lung cancer. Translational Lung Cancer Research.
  5. [5] Onowhakpor, A. O., Aigbovorhiuwa, D. I., & Okojie, O. H. (2018). Respiratory status of hairdressers in Edo State, Nigeria. Journal of Community Medicine and Primary Health Care, 30(2), 55-61.
  6. [6] Carter, J. T., & Spurgeon, A. (2018). Dangerous Trades: The Historical, Social, and Legal Aspects of Industrial Occupations as Affecting Health, by a Number of Experts.
  7. [7] Ulvestad, B., Lund, M. B., Bakke, B., Thomassen, Y., & Ellingsen, D. G. (2015). Short-term lung function decline in tunnel construction workers. Occup Environ Med, 72(2), 108-113.
  8. [8] McElroy, C. S., & Day, B. J. (2016). Antioxidants as potential medical countermeasures for chemical warfare agents and toxic industrial chemicals. Biochemical pharmacology, 100, 1-11.
  9. [9] Nordgren, T. M., & Bailey, K. L. (2016). Pulmonary health effects of agriculture. Current opinion in pulmonary medicine, 22(2), 144.
  10. [10] McIvor, A., & Johnston, R. (2016). Miners' lung: a history of dust disease in British coal mining. Routledge.
  11. [11] Gündüzöz, M., İritaş, S. B., Tutkun, L., Büyükşekerci, M., Çetintepe, S. P., Bal, C., ... & Erel, Ö. (2018). A NEW POTENTIAL BIOMARKER IN EARLY DIAGNOSIS OF FIREFIGHTER LUNG FUNCTION IMPAIRMENT: DYNAMIC THIOL/DISULPHIDE HOMEOSTASIS. Central European journal of public health, 26(3), 190-194.
  12. [12] Rahhal, B., Hamadallah, Y., Taqatqah, O., Shadeed, I. A., & Hattab, S. (2017). The Impact of Automobile Painting Profession on Selected Respiratory Parameters: a Study from Palestine.
Story first published: Sunday, June 9, 2019, 10:14 [IST]