Merck Manual

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Workers at Risk of Environmental Lung Disease

Workers at Risk of Environmental Lung Disease


Affected Workers

Construction workers and home remodelers who install or remove materials (including insulation) that contain asbestos

Shipyard workers

Workers who mine, mill, or manufacture asbestos


Barium workers

Iron miners

Tin workers


Aerospace workers

Metallurgical (castings) workers

Bronchiolitis obliterans

Flavorings workers (popcorn workers’ lung)

Military personnel deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan

Cotton, hemp, jute, and flax workers

Coal workers

Graphite workers

Office workers when the air-conditioning systems become contaminated by certain fungi and bacteria

Swimming pool and spa workers (because of contaminated sprays)

Farmers, mushroom workers, milling and construction workers, bird keepers, people exposed to isocyanates (urethanes)

People who work with grains, western red cedar wood, castor beans, isocyanates (urethanes), dyes, antibiotics, epoxy resins, tea, and enzymes used in manufacturing detergent, malt, leather goods, latex, jewelry, abrasives and paints used in automobile body repairs, animals, shellfish, irritating gases, vapors, and mists

Military personnel deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan

Certain coal miners (for example, those who drill or blast rock)

Foundry workers

Lead, copper, silver, and gold miners



Sandstone or granite cutters

Tombstone makers

Tunnel workers

Workers who make abrasive soaps

Workers who fabricate or install countertops manufactured from engineered silicates

Silo filler’s disease