CDC Says More Than 20 Percent of Asthma Deaths Are Work-Related

Study Shows Over 33,300 Asthma-Related Deaths in 17 Years


Last month, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) published a report correlating asthma deaths with occupational exposures. According to the report, 11 to 21 percent of all asthma-related deaths are caused by on-the-job exposures, many of which are preventable.

The report showed that the industry with the highest number of asthma deaths for men and women is the construction industry. OSHA mandates some preventative measures in the industry such as exposure levels and, in some situations, personal protective equipment. However, fumes from welding and paints are prevalent in the industry and can pose an asthma threat to workers. The report specifically cited isocyanates (found in paint) as the main cause of the disease.


(Related Article: New York Paperboard Mill Case Highlights PPE Noncompliance)


The study was investigated by Jacek Mazurek, MD, PhD, Respiratory Health Division, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, CDC. He and his colleagues analyzed people between the ages of 15 and 64 and the period of 1999 to 2016. In this time period, there were 33,307 asthma-related deaths.

“Work-related asthma is a preventable condition that includes asthma caused by exposures in the workplace and concurrent asthma worsened by exposures in the workplace,” Mazurek told MD Magazine.  “It has been estimated that 7% to 51% of asthma in adults is attributable to occupational exposure. In addition to adverse socioeconomic outcomes, work-related asthma has been associated with disability and mortality.”

The mortality rates differ by industry and occupation, so the researchers also pointed out that protections should be segmented. It’s important to understand and identify the workplace exposures that are specific to certain industries. However, the most important protection in every industry is early diagnosis, treatment, and management of asthma.


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The best way to keep your workplace asthma-free and compliant with OSHA standards is with medical surveillance. Worksite Medical offers mobile medical units that can come directly to your work site and test employees. We also have workers’ compensation injury clinics in Ellwood City, PA and Belcamp, MD. Check out our complete services page — SERVICES — or call us today at 1-844-622-8633

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