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Jobs That Are Bad for Your Lungs

by | Feb 20, 2019 | Chemical Exposure, Healthcare, Occupational Diseases

When we think of “dangerous jobs,” our minds may automatically go to police officers, firemen, loggers, and fishermen, but what a lot of people don’t realize is that a number of jobs are dangerous because of what they do to the lungs.

We’re talking about occupational diseases, such as black lung disease suffered by coal miners, baker’s asthma and rhinitis, lung cancer, COPD, asthma from exposure to the powder residue in latex gloves, brown lung disease from exposure to particles released from cotton and other fabrics, cancer from being exposed to second-hand smoke in a casino or bar, and COPD from exposure to diesel exhaust.


Surprisingly, a number of seemingly harmless jobs are actually hazardous to your health because of how they can affect your lungs. Here are some of the worst jobs for your lungs:

  1. Construction workers who inhale dust from renovations or demolitions can develop lung cancer.
  2. Factory workers can be exposed to chemicals, dust, and various gases that can cause COPD.
  3. Factory workers who work in food plants can be exposed to diacetyl, a flavoring agent that’s used in wine, popcorn, and some fast food, which can lead to bronchiolitis obliterans, a sometimes-fatal disease related to COPD.
  4. Healthcare workers who are exposed to the powder residue from latex gloves can experience a severe asthma-like reaction.
  5. People who work in textiles can suffer from brown lung disease, which develops when they inhale the tiny particles released from fabrics like cotton.
  6. Bartenders can develop lung disease after being exposed to second-hand smoke on a regular basis for years.
  7. Those who work with spray-on paints can experience chest tightness and they can have severe difficulty breathing.
  8. Truckers and railroad workers can suffer from COPD after being exposed to diesel exhaust for extended periods of time.
  9. Due to dust exposure, coal miners are at risk of COPD.

Related: What Counts as an Occupational Disease in New York?

As you can see, there are a number of occupations that can be dangerous to the lungs, if not life-threatening and we haven’t listed them all. If you are having lung trouble due to occupational exposure to chemicals, gasses, or dust, we urge you to contact our firm to discuss filing a workers’ compensation claim.