Occupational Lung Disease Information for Consumers

picture of lungs

What is an Occupational Lung Disease?

Breathing is a necessary body function. However, it can also expose the airways and lungs to dusts, chemicals, vapors, smoke, gases, fumes, and mists. Inhaling certain substances can damage lungs and promote certain conditions, including asthma, asbestosis, lung cancer, emphysema, and others.

An occupational lung disease is a lung condition that develops as a result of a person inhaling harmful substances at his or her place of work. Occupational lung diseases are the most common work-related illness in the United States, but fortunately many are preventable or controllable with proper treatment. This page contains links to a number of different resources on occupational lung diseases, including work-related asthma. The web-sites listed are for informational purposes only. They are not intended to replace advice from licensed medical care providers.

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Work-Related Asthma Information

Work-related asthma is defined as asthma that is caused or made worse by workplace exposure. The links below offer additional information about work-related asthma.

Occupational Health Information

New York State Occupational Health Clinic Network


Provides information about the New York State Occupational Health Clinic Network. The clinics offer specialized medical diagnoses, high-quality care and support services for workers with occupational disease.

More Work-Related Asthma and Occupational Lung Disease Information

American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology


This online brochure provides general information about occupational asthma, including information about common symptoms of asthma and about workplace substances identified as causing asthma.

American Academy of Family Physicians


Describes the types of substances found in workplaces that can lead to occupational lung disease and the types of conditions caused by certain workplace substances.

American Lung Association


Provides general information on occupational lung diseases, including information about common breathing hazards, how to read a material safety data-sheet and smoking in the workplace. Includes separate links to information about occupational asthma.

Asbestosis and Mesothelioma Information and Resource Guide


Provides information about asbestosis and mesothelioma and answers commonly asked questions about these two conditions.

Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America


Provides general information the symptoms, diagnosis, and management of occupational asthma.

Asthma Initiative of Michigan


Provides general information about occupational asthma and links to information about its diagnosis and management. Also includes a link to an informational brochure about asthma and cleaning products.

Canadian National Occupational Health and Safety Resource


Provides answers to commonly asked questions about occupational asthma and provides information about the identification, prevention and management of occupational asthma can be identified.

Environmental Protection Agency Asthma and Indoor Environments


Provides basic information about asthma and specialized information about how to better identify and manage indoor asthma triggers.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration


OSHA establishes protective standards, enforces those standards, and reaches out to employers and employees through technical assistance and consultation programs. Use the alphabetical site index to locate information about occupational asthma, silicosis and other occupational lung diseases.

Other Occupational Health Information

Association of Occupational and Environmental Clinics


The Association of Occupational and Environmental Clinics (AOEC) is a network of more than 60 clinics committed to improving the practice of occupational and environmental medicine through information sharing and collaborative research.

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health


Provides information about a wide range of occupational health and safety topics and links to useful on-line resources.

Mine Safety and Health Administration


Use this alphabetic index to find information about a number of occupational lung diseases including, asbestosis and silicosis and general occupational health information.



Isocyanates are compounds found in polyurethane products that are known to cause asthma. Isocyanates are found in insulation materials, surface coatings, car seats, furniture, foam mattresses, under-carpet padding, packaging materials, shoes, laminated fabrics, polyurethane rubber, adhesives, and other substances. This page contains information about isocyanates and how to prevent isocyanate exposures in the workplace.