People are often surprised at how many conditions of the lungs are caused by workplace exposures. These conditions fall into the category of occupational lung disease and are caused by extended exposure to harmful, toxic particles that mix with the air and enter the lungs of workers.
According to the American Lung Association, there are two main categories of occupational lung disease: non-occupation specific diseases and lung diseases linked to a specific occupation. Non-occupation specific diseases are conditions that can only be aggravated at work like asthma. Lung conditions linked to a specific occupation means the person’s occupation is the sole cause of the disease like a coal worker’s pneumoconiosis (black lung) or mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma is considered an occupational lung disease; the majority of mesothelioma sufferers were exposed to asbestos on the job. Some of the occupations linked to asbestos exposure include:
- Auto mechanics
- Military members
- Factory workers
- Mechanical engineers
- And more
Mesothelioma as an Occupational Lung Disease
Despite being regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), asbestos use continued well into the 70s and, in some cases, beyond. Mesothelioma has a long latency period. So many workers exposed to asbestos fibers decades ago may just now begin to notice mesothelioma symptoms.
The Simmons Firm has represented thousands of individuals with mesothelioma. Between the years 1999 and 2005, approximately 18,000 mesothelioma deaths were reported. The American Lung Association states those deaths were 81 percent men, 95 percent of which were Caucasian.
As part of Healthy Lung Month, please help us raise mesothelioma awareness. Share this article or others you find about mesothelioma and lung disease. You can also learn about more occupations and asbestos exposure now on our website.