Key points

  • Systematic under-reporting and difficulties in attributing causation both contribute to underappreciation of the burden of occupational respiratory diseases.
  • Work-related exposures are estimated to account for about 15% of all adult asthma cases.
  • Both the accumulation of toxic dust in the lungs and immunological sensitisation to inhaled occupational agents can cause interstitial lung disease.
  • Despite asbestos use being phased out, mesothelioma rates are forecast to continue rising owing to the long latency of the disease.
  • The emergence of novel occupational causes of respiratory disease in recent years emphasises the need for continuing vigilance.

See the entire Occupational-lung-diseases Chapter