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Identifying Environmental Causes of Occupational Asthma

Cinnaminson, NJ – WEBWIRE

Occupational asthma, also known as work-related asthma, results from exposure to allergens or irritants on the job. Exposure to these substances can lead to new cases of asthma or worsen existing asthma in some people.

Occupational asthma is the most common occupational lung disease in the United States.  According to OSHA, “An estimated 11 million workers in a wide range of industries and occupations are exposed to at least one of the numerous agents known to be associated with occupational asthma. Occupational factors are associated with up to 15 percent of disabling asthma cases in the United States.”

The condition can cause wheezing, chest tightness, shortness of breath and coughing. Symptoms may emerge hours after exposure to harmful substances or even months or years later.  Workers in a wide range of industries are at potential risk. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), more than 250 substances are known or believed to cause or exacerbate work-related asthma. These substances include many chemicals used in manufacturing; paints; cleaning products; dusts from wood, grain and flour; latex gloves; certain molds; animals; and insects.

Occupational asthma can be controlled and the NIH lists three main approaches that can be implemented. They include preventing the disease by reducing or eliminating environmental allergens and irritants; detecting the disease early, even before symptoms appear, by using surveillance measures; and avoiding worsening symptoms by preventing exposure or using something less harmful.

“Occupational asthma reduces productivity and quality of life for those impacted by the condition,” said Joseph Frasca, Senior Vice President of Marketing at EMSL Analytical, Inc. “Some workers can become too disabled to work, while others may have to change jobs to avoid the substance that caused their asthma. Unless occupational asthma is caught and managed early, it will often continue and get worse.”

EMSL offers a wide range of testing services to identify both chemical and microbial airborne pollutants and known asthma triggers.  EMSL also recently sponsored an educational video about occupational asthma that can be seen at:

To learn more about testing services for airborne pollutants and asthma triggers, please visit, call (800) 220-3675 or email .
About EMSL Analytical, Inc.
EMSL Analytical is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider of industrial hygiene, environmental, indoor air quality, consumer product and materials testing services and products for professionals and the general public.  The company has an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies.

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 Occupational asthma
 airborne pollutants
 chemical testing
 air testing
 asthma triggers

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