Certain jobs in Connecticut can expose you to materials that are harmful to your lungs: smoke, dust, fibers, chemicals, etc. If your occupation exposes you to harmful materials, they may cause damage to your lungs that can lead to conditions such as infection, COPD, asthma or fibrosis.

Conditions such as these can affect your breathing and potentially pose a threat to your life. You may already know of the risk of exposure from some jobs, but others may come as a surprise to you. WebMD details some of the jobs that can pose the greatest threat to your respiratory health.

  1. Coal mining

The link between coal mining and lung disease is so well established that pneumoconiosis, the chronic hardening of lung tissue that results from a buildup of coal dust in the airways, is sometimes called “coal miner’s lung.”

  1. Construction

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that used to be common in construction due to its fire-retardant properties. However, when it proved to cause lung cancer, the government banned its use. Nevertheless, it may still show up in older buildings, and people who work in demolition may become exposed to it.

  1. Manufacturing

Breathing in dust while working in a factory can lead to asthma and other respiratory issues. Silicosis is a condition that results from breathing too much dust, sand or rock particles containing silica. However, other types of dust can pose hazards as well. People who work in plants manufacturing microwave popcorn have developed “popcorn lung” from breathing in the chemicals used for flavoring.

  1. Health care

Doctors, nurses and others who work in a health care setting risk exposure to disease, including lung diseases. However, an unexpected hazard for health care workers is equipment that contains latex, which could cause asthma.

  1. Hairstyling

Products used in hairstyling can contain hazardous materials. There is a cancer risk from using products, chiefly hair straighteners, that contain formaldehyde. Additionally, asthma can develop from exposure to certain hair-coloring agents.

The use of safety equipment, such as respirators, may reduce your risk of exposure to harmful materials. In some occupational settings, this is a requirement.

The information in this article is not intended as legal advice but provided for educational purposes only.