Worker Health and Wellness Respiratory conditions Research/studies Workplace exposures

Campaign aims to raise awareness of work-related asthma in Michigan

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East Lansing, MI — Estimating that up to half of the 600,000 or so adult cases of asthma in Michigan may be caused or aggravated by on-the-job exposure, the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine has launched a campaign intended to raise awareness of work-related asthma.

“People know they have asthma, but they don’t know their triggers,” Kenneth Rosenman, professor and chief of MSU’s Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, said in a May 7 press release. “Asthma is both a preventable disease and a very treatable disease. Minimize exposure – that’s the key.”

An estimated 100 people in the state die each year from asthma, including some who were exposed at work, the release states. If symptoms diminish or disappear when a worker is away from the job, that may mean the condition is work-related. Repeated exposure to asthma triggers at work can lead to the condition becoming chronic.

 

“The first step is awareness,” Rosenman said.

Researchers advise employers, asthma sufferers and physicians to seek out workplace triggers such as cleaning solutions, dust and paint fumes. Workers with the condition should ask their employers to replace any substances that can cause asthma, improve ventilation systems, transfer them to a different work area or supply respirators.

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