Diseases Diseases

Immunology Of Occupational Lung Diseases Caused By Dust


Recurrent and continuing contact with several irritants in the workplace can lead to a variety of dust diseases affecting the lungs. These dust diseases can have long-lasting effects and even show up years after exposure. Some occupations, because of their location and/or job duties are at a higher risk of contamination. Coal mining is not the only occupation that carries a risk of occupational lung or dust diseases. A listing of hazardous jobs can be found on the internet, along with a list of companies that have been fined for having dangerous working conditions.

Working in a car repair shop or yard goods factory can subject a worker to numerous hazardous elements, dust, chemicals, and even fibers, which could lead to dust diseases and lung issues. Occupational dust diseases are one of the top work-related diseases in the world. Most of the dust diseases are caused by long-term, repeated exposure to dust. A single exposure to hazardous dust can be dangerous to the lungs. Working with dust and smoking will increase the Smoking can increase both the severity and risk of developing lung cancer.

The lungs are subjected to many dangerous substances. Lung injuries can be the result to non-immunological or immunological processes. The lungs clear themselves of inhaled elements using ciliated cells that line the airways and macrophages. Lifeless particles are swallowed by macrophages, and if they are sluggish, they are expelled by coughing.

Dust diseases include nodular fibrosis, interstitial fibrosis and macule formation. All of these dust diseases can lead to emphysema. Inhaled silica dust can damage the lining of the lungs and impair lung function. Mesothelioma is caused when asbestos dust has been inhaled, and usually shows up years after exposure. Treatment for Mesothelioma can be successful if the disease is caught early.

Industrial asthma is a dust disease that occurs when workers are exposed to dust over long periods of time. Some workers medicate themselves with inhaled steroids to prevent asthma. This practice has not been proven to prevent asthma, but may minimize the exposure risk. Organic dust is not as harmful, because the lungs respond differently and the dust is complemented by T-cells.

Byssinosis is a dust disease that is triggered by the residual dust from flax, hemp and cotton. This dust disease is also known as brown lung disease, and is a chronic disease. Symptoms include tightness of chest and a shortness of breath. Brown lung disease is seen mostly in textile workers and can show up years after exposure.

Hypersensitivity pneumonitis is a dust disease caused by inhaling the dust of bird droppings, moldy hay, fungus spores and moldy corks. This disease causes scar tissue to develop between the lungs, and this cause’s abnormal breathing. Variations of Hypersensitivity pneumonitis consists of the occupations of workers.

Tips and comments

Use adequate breathing equipment when working around dust.

Be aware of OSHA requirements and report any violations.

See a doctor if you experience any breathing problems or chest pains.

Report any potential hazardous conditions to safety supervisor.

Treatment for any work related diseases is usually covered by a Workman’s Comp Policy.

By Zoe Newf, published at 03/15/2012
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