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Unhealthy Jobs: 10 Worst Career Fields For Your Lungs

Health.com     First Posted: 01/24/11 06:49 AM ET   Updated: 05/25/11 07:25 PM ET


Nearly 23,000 workers developed job-related lung disease in 2008, the U.S. Department of Labor estimates. More than 16,000 people die from it each year.

But most types of occupational lung disease are preventable, says Philip Harber, M.D., professor and chief of the UCLA Occupational and Environmental Medicine Division. "Simple control measures can markedly reduce exposure and the risk," he says.

Here are 10 fields that can be risky for your lung health.

Construction
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Workers who inhale dust in demolitions or renovations can be at risk for lung cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestosis, a disease that causes scarring and stiffening of lungs.

"We worry about people with exposure 20 to 30 years ago," Dr. Harber says, when many products containing asbestos were not banned.

Wearing protective gear, including a respirator, when working around older buildings and avoiding smoking can help.

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Filed by Nicholas Miriello  |