Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a progressive lung disease characterized by airflow obstruction and increasing breathlessness. COPD is increasing worldwide, both in developed and developing countries. The most important risk factor of developing COPD is cigarette smoking; however, occupational exposures such as vapors, gases, dusts and fumes present an important risk factor for the development of the disease, by itself and through interaction with other risk factors. The dusts from coal, stone quarries, wood, cereals and agricultural work, animal stables, textiles, and paper production that can arise in occupational environments have been regulated by the International Labor Organization and considered possible as contributors to COPD. A better understanding of these causes paves the way for effective interventions to reduce the future incidence of this unpleasant condition. Breathlessness and occupational exposures to vapors, gases, dusts and fumes were identified as the main modifiable factors associated with unemployment and poor work productivity in COPD patients.
Part of the book: Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease