Dangers of Occupational Asthma
According to the Mayo Clinic, occupational asthma can cause permanent lung damage and disability in workers if their condition is not properly diagnosed or if they are not properly protected from toxic exposure. If left untreated, the condition can be fatal. More than 250 substances have been identified as possible causes of occupational asthma, including the following:
- Chlorine gas, sulfur dioxide, smoke, and other respiratory irritants
- Platinum, chromium, nickel sulfate, and other metals
- Various chemicals used to make adhesives, laminates, paints, and varnishes
Health care workers may also develop reactions after breathing powdered material from the lining of latex gloves. When a worker breathes in gases, fumes, or other irritants, it may trigger an allergic or immunological response, resulting in occupational asthma. Workers may cough, wheeze, and experience shortness of breath and chest pain. Other symptoms of occupational asthma include discomfort and irritation of the eyes and nose. Factors indicating whether a worker’s asthma is occupational, include the following:
- Symptoms get worse as the workweek progress
- Symptoms lessen or disappear on weekends, holidays, or during vacation
Workers who smoke or have a family history of asthma or allergies face a higher risk of developing occupational asthma and other respiratory diseases. Occupational asthma can be prevented by controlling the level of exposure to gases, fumes, smoke, dust, and other irritants at work. Proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE) may help. It is the employer’s responsibility to provide adequate safety measures and training to prevent the condition.
If you suffer from occupational asthma or any other work-related illness or injury, contact the Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation lawyers at Gross & Kenny, LLP for professional counsel before filing a claim. To learn more about the potential value of your claim, fill out an online form or call us at 215-512-1500. We represent injured workers across Pennsylvania from our office in Philadelphia.