What causes chemical worker's lung?

Updated: Dec 24, 2019
  • Author: Shakeel Amanullah, MD; Chief Editor: John J Oppenheimer, MD  more...
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The list of chemicals asociated with lung disease continues to increase. Traditionally the implicated industries included the manufacture polyurethane foam, molding, insulation, synthetic rubber, and packaging materials and include toluene diisocyanate (TDI) [6, 7, 8, 9]  and trimellitic anhydride. However, with the development of newer chemical agents and with the novel use of existing agents the industries being associated with lung disease continue to expand.

As discussed earlier, nanoparticles, particularly engineered nanoparticles, are a relatively new, emerging occupational and environment exposure that can lead to the development of lung disease. [10, 11, 12]  A unique feature of nanoparticles is their very large surface area-to-mass ratio, indicating their toxic effects may be more related to surface area than mass. [12] An increasing area of concern is that engineered nanoparticles may exhibit new or increased reactivity and increased toxic effects following inhalation exposure. [12]  The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has a site dedicated to working safely with nanotechnology at https://www.osha.gov/dsg/nanotechnology/index.html. [3]

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