Occupational lung diseases are a group of illnesses caused by either repeated, extended exposure or a single, severe exposure to irritating or toxic substances that leads to acute or chronic respiratory ailments.
There are two broad categories of occupational lung diseases:
- those that are specific to an occupation, such as asbestosis, coal worker’s black lung (pheumoconiosis) and textile worker’s brown lung (berylliosis) and farmer’s lung disease
- those that are not occupation-specific, but are aggravated at work, such as occupational asthma
Common occupational lung diseases include: mesothelioma, occupational asthma, silicosis, asbestosis, and sick building syndrome. Certain occupations are associated with an increased risk of developing occupational lung diseases. They include construction and industrial workers, farmers, miners and firefighters.