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What types of lung diseases affect industrial workers?

Many New Jersey residents suffer from respiratory conditions that they contract on the job site. Although you may primarily think of lung diseases as they relate to asbestos and other similar materials, a variety of other conditions can develop for those who work around hazardous materials. These issues can affect workers from coal miners to furniture fabricators and beyond. Victims who have developed a lung disease because of mining or another type of job may be entitled to financial compensation.

How are miners at risk? Coal miners are among the most vulnerable workers when it comes to lung diseases. These employees can suffer from pneumoconiosis (CWP), a condition that causes breathing difficulties because of exposure to dust in the mines. CWP and similar conditions, such as mesothelioma exposure to asbestos, can take up to a decade to develop, which makes them particularly difficult to detect. In addition to exposure to coal dust, miners have historically been confronted with another condition known as silicosis. This condition develops when miners are exposed to quartz dust that is stirred up while boring or blasting. Silicosis can also be attributed to sand particles, or silica dust, disturbed during construction activities, which is why many construction sites wet down sandy areas for worker protection.

What types of conditions affect workers in other industries? Even if you are not a miner, you can still be at risk for developing respiratory ailments. Construction and demolition workers who are exposed to asbestos fibers, for instance, can suffer from lung diseases that ultimately turn into cancer. Work-related asthma can also develop from some surprising sources. If you are employed in metal or textile industries, you could be at risk of a lung disease, but health care workers who use natural rubber latex gloves are also susceptible.

No matter the nature of your work, you could face some level of risk for lung diseases and occupational illnesses. If you are suffering from work-related health problems, you deserve financial compensation for your medical costs. Employers need to be held responsible for the lung diseases that result from inadequate worker protection.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Respiratory Diseases," accessed July 08, 2015

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