Study finds work hazards contribute to lung disease

Workplace fumes and dust could lead to lung disease.

The connection between occupational hazards, asbestos exposure and lung disease are well known, but a recent study delves deeper into other work hazards and that can contribute to lung disease. The researchers with the study state the data shows a connection to hazards like vapors and dust and the development of non-cancerous lung diseases.

More on the study: What did researchers find about occupational exposure and lung disease?

The researchers studied over twenty years of data gathered from throughout the world. The study did not look at cancer rates, but instead focused on the development of respiratory infections, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Ultimately, the group found the role that workplace exposures play in the development of these diseases is "underrecognized."

The authors of the study state they hope it leads to policy change. Researchers encourage lawmakers to pass regulations to increase the protections available to workers who are at risk of exposure to dangerous vapors and dust while in the workplace. The impact of such legislation could be significant, as the researchers estimate more than one in ten workers suffer from lung diseases that result from occupational exposure.

What does this mean for workers?

Even if lawmakers do not pass additional legislation, current law generally grants workers the right to a safe work environment. Regulations are often present that require employers to protect their workers from such hazards. Examples can include ensuring proper ventilation within the workplace and provision of personal protective equipment to those who may come in contact with the hazardous or toxic materials.

Those who become ill due to exposure to hazardous fumes, vapors and chemicals while on-the-job may be able to hold their employer accountable for their illness. Legal remedies may be available through a workers' compensation claim.

What is workers' compensation and how can it help those who suffer from occupational related diseases?

Workers' compensation is a type of insurance. State and federal law generally requires employers to carry workers' compensation coverage.

If a worker is injured or develops a disease while on-the-job, the worker may be eligible for workers' comp benefits. These benefits can result in financial compensation to help cover the costs of medical care, rehabilitation and lost wages.

Unfortunately, insurance companies do not always meet their obligations. Workers who file a claim for benefits and are denied or offered an unreasonably low payment have options. An attorney experienced in workers' comp claims can help. This legal professional can do everything from gather information to support an initial claim to build a rebuttal and appeal a denial. Do not simply accept the benefit program's decision. Fight for your right to receive benefits.

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