What Respiratory Conditions Are Caused By Toxic Agents?
Toxic agents such as asbestos cause a variety of serious respiratory conditions. The U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that conditions such as pneumontis, pharyngitis, farmer’s lung and congestion can result from the use of occupational chemicals or toxic agents. California, Michigan and Texas reported the greatest number of overall respiratory conditions due to toxic agents in the United States in 2001. Figure 2-201. Number of respiratory conditions due to toxic agents in private industry by State, 2001. The number of respiratory conditions due to toxic agents within reporting States in 2001 ranged from fewer than 50 cases to 1,400. BLS reported 14,500 cases in 2001. States with the highest numbers of these conditions included California (1,400), Michigan (900), Texas (700), North Carolina (700), and New York (700). (Source: BLS
What Is Tuberculosis?
Tuberculosis is an infectious disease that is easily transmitted between human beings and is often fatal. Usually, tuberculosis attacks the lungs, but it can attack many important parts of the body. While children are vaccinated against this disease, there is currently no effective vaccine for adults. Therefore, a tuberculosis outbreak in the workplace can be particularly dangerous.
What Is Asthma?
Asthma is a chronic respiratory condition. Asthma sufferers experience their airways constricting when their asthma is triggered and may have difficulty breathing. There are both genetic and environmental causes of asthma. Work related asthma occurs across professions. However, the largest incidence of work related asthma was seen among operators, fabricators and laborers from 1993-1999. Figure 2-162. Distribution and number of WRA cases for all four SENSOR reporting States (California, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey) by occupation, 1993-1999. Operators, fabricators, and laborers accounted for the largest proportion of WRA cases (32.9%), followed by managerial and professional specialty occupations (20.2%). (Sources: Harrison and Flattery [2002b]; Tumpowsky and Davis ; Rosenman et al. [2002a]; Valiante and Schill [2002a]; Filios [2002a].) These cases of work related asthma were caused by different agents with no particular agent dominating the majority of cases. Figure 2-164. Distribution of agent categories most frequently associated with WRA cases for all four SENSOR reporting States (California, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey), 1993-1999. During 1993-1999, the largest proportion of WRA cases was associated with miscellaneous chemicals (19.7%). This category of agents includes many exposures that are not easily classified (for example, perfumes, odors, and glues). (Sources: Harrison and Flattery [2002b]; Tumpowsky and Davis ; Rosenman et al. [2002a]; Valiante and Schill [2002a]; Filios [2002a].)
What Is Mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is a kind of cancer that is almost exclusively related to asbestos. The cancer starts in the mesothelium which is a protective coating around the body’s organs. Usually, it starts around the lungs. The chemical and construction industries were, predictably, among the industries with the highest rate of malignant mesothelioma. However, other professions such as elementary school teachers also made the government’s list in 1999. Figure 2-171. PMRs and 95% confidence intervals for malignant mesothelioma in U.S. residents aged 15 or older by industry and occupation, 1999. Industrial and miscellaneous chemicals, electric light and power, and construction industries were associated with the highest significant malignant mesothelioma PMRs. Plumbers, pipefitters, steamfitters, and electricians (which are occupations associated with the construction industry) were highly associated with malignant mesothelioma mortality. Elementary school teachers also had a significant malignant mesothelioma PMR. (Note: This figure presents the highest significant PMRs based on 10 or more deaths.) (Source: NIOSH [2002e].)
What Is Pneumoconiosis?
Pneumoconiosis is a serious lung disease that is caused by the inhalation of dust, most often in the workplace. Pneumoconiosis has different names depending on the type of dust that causes the illness. For example, asbestosis occurs because of inhalation of asbestos dust and byssinosis occurs because of inhalation of cotton dust. While the overall death rate from pneumoconiosis may be decreasing in the United States, certain types of the disease such as asbestosis are increasing. Figure 2-172. Number of deaths of U.S. residents aged 15 or older with pneumoconiosis recorded as an underlying or contributing cause on the death certificate, 1968-1999. During 1968-1999, deaths from asbestosis increased over time, whereas deaths from CWP decreased. Deaths from all pneumoconioses are shown at the top of each stacked bar. The bars slightly overstate the numbers because a small fraction of deaths was associated with more than one type of pneumoconiosis. (Note: Byssinosis data were not available before 1979. Also note that the sum of deaths for various types of pneumoconiosis (N=123,091) exceeds the total number of pneumoconiosis deaths (N=121,982) because some decedents had more than one type of pneumoconiosis recorded on their death certificates.) (Source: NIOSH [2002f].) In fact, the asbestosis numbers have increased significantly since 1968. Figure 2-175. Number of deaths of U.S. residents aged 15 or older with asbestosis recorded as an underlying or contributing cause on the death certificate, 1968-1999. The number of asbestosis deaths increased from 77 in 1968 to 1,265 in 1999. During this period, asbestosis was listed each year as the underlying cause in nearly a third of all asbestosis deaths. (Source: NIOSH [2002f].) The effect of asbestosis on different industries can be seen below: Figure 2-177. PMRs and 95% confidence intervals for asbestosis in U.S. residents aged 15 or older by industry and occupation, adjusted for age, race, and sex, 1990-1999. Miscellaneous nonmetallic mineral and stone products and ship and boat building and repairing had the highest significant asbestosis PMRs among industries. Among occupations, insulation workers and boilermakers had the highest asbestosis PMRs. (Note: The figure presents the highest significant PMRs based on 10 or more deaths.) (Source: NIOSH [2002f].) While other types of pneumoconiosis may be decreasing they have not yet been eliminated. For example, byssinosis is still a problem in the yarn, textile, fabric and machinery industries. Figure 2-180. PMRs and 95% confidence intervals for byssinosis in U.S. residents aged 15 or older by industry and occupation, adjusted for age, race, and sex, 1990-1999. Significant byssinosis PMRs were associated with a single industry-yarn, thread, and fabric mills. Among occupations, elevated byssinosis PMRs were associated with miscellaneous textile machine operators, industrial machine repairers, and winding and twisting machine operators. (Note: The figure presents the highest significant PMRs based on five or more deaths.) (Source: NIOSH [2002f].) Similarly, Coal Workers Pneumoconioses remains a problem for that industry. Figure 2-185. PMRs and 95% confidence intervals for CWP in U.S. residents aged 15 or older by industry and occupation, adjusted for age, race, and sex, 1990-1999. Among industries, coal mining and metal mining were associated with elevated CWP mortality during 1990-1999. Among occupations, the three highest significant PMRs were associated with mining. (Note: This figure presents the highest significant PMRs based on 10 or more deaths.)
What Is Dust Disease Of The Lungs?
Dust disease of the lungs is a condition that develops as a result of prolonged inhalation of certain dusts. Different states have different rates of dust disease of the lung among their workers. In 2001, the highest rate was in West Virginia: Figure 2-198. Incidence rates for dust diseases of the lungs in private industry by State, 2001. Rates for occupational dust diseases of the lungs varied by State in 2001, from a low of 0.1 per 10,000 full-time workers in most States to a high of 3.8 per 10,000 full-time workers in West Virginia. The U.S. rate was 0.1 per 10,000 full-time workers. Lower rates were reported for States in the South, the Southwest, and the West. (Source: BLS .) While California, Michigan and Texas had the highest overall numbers. Figure 2-197. Number of cases of dust diseases of the lungs in private industry by State, 2001. The number of dust diseases of the lungs within reporting States ranged from fewer than 50 cases to 200 in 2001. BLS reported 1,300 cases of dust diseases of the lung in 2001. Eight States (California, Illinois, New York, Oklahoma, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia) reported 100 or more cases. (Source: BLS .) Lung diseases can be deadly. Many common injuries to the lung are caused by inhaled toxins or chemicals in the workplace. While the rates of some types of lung disease may be decreasing in the United States, many people still die from the disease every year. Therefore, it is important to understand the risks inherent in each industry and the ways in which people may be able to protect themselves.