Federal agencies Respiratory conditions

NIOSH asks for input on improving respiratory health among workers


Washington – NIOSH’s Respiratory Health Division is seeking comments from stakeholders on ways to improve workers’ respiratory health.

“Which methods for assessing exposure and health should be highlighted? What type of scientific approaches need more attention to better understand and prevent occupational respiratory diseases?” Paul Henneberger, senior science advisor in the Respiratory Health Division, and David Weissman, director of the division, ask in a June 6 blog post.

The agency states that it wants to hear from various stakeholders – including workers, employers, researchers, and occupational safety and health professionals – to help establish research objectives for the National Occupational Research Agenda, a partnership program for innovative research and better workplace practices.

The agency has set a deadline of Aug. 1 for comments but stated it will accept feedback indefinitely to help produce a draft plan in the third decade of NORA. Comments can be emailed to [email protected] or posted under the blog entry.

The most common respiratory disease treated in U.S. occupational health clinics is work-related asthma, according to NIOSH. About 15 percent of asthma cases in adults are associated with work, and 23 percent of workers who have the disease experience more severe symptoms on the job. Workplace exposures potentially affect other respiratory diseases, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, silicosis, lung cancer and bronchiolitis obliterans (also known as “popcorn lung”).

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