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Dust on the Job Can Be Tough on the Lungs

Increases risk of asthma and respiratory problems

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 23, 2002 (HealthDayNews) -- If you're exposed to dust and fumes at work, you may be at greater risk of developing respiratory problems and asthma.

A Norwegian study recently published the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine found a link between dust and fume exposure at work and respiratory problems and asthma. That was even after adjusting for gender, age, smoking habits and education.

The study also found that exposure to quartz causes coughing and exposure to asbestos leads to a high risk of severe breathlessness and asthma.

The 11-year study included 2,819 people. Just over 28 percent of the people in the study were exposed to dust and fumes at work, with 3.7 exposed to quartz and 5 percent exposed to asbestos.

The study found that between 5.7 percent and 19.3 percent of the incidences of respiratory problems and 14.4 percent of the incidences of asthma in the people in the study were linked to dust and fume exposure.

More information

To get more information about workplace safety, go to the U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

SOURCE: American Thoracic Society, news release, October 2002
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