Occupational lung disease causes

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1];Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Hadeel Maksoud M.D.[2]


Occupational lung disease may be caused by organic dust such as thermophilic and true fungi, and bacteria and animal proteins, or by inorganic dust such as, silicates, carbons and metals, or by agents other than organic or inorganic dusts such as, chemicals, gases, fumes, vapors, and aerosols.


Life-threatening Causes

  • Life-threatening causes include conditions which may result in death or permanent disability within 24 hours if left untreated.
  • Life-threatening causes of occupational lung disease include chemical gas inhalation such as chlorine or sarin gas.[1][2]

Common Causes

Common causes of occupational lung disease include:[3][4]

Less Common Causes

Less common causes of occupational lung disease include:[5][6]

Genetic Causes

Causes by Organ System

Cardiovascular No underlying causes
Chemical/Poisoning Orlon, polyesters, nylon, acrylic, vinyl chloride, oxygen, nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide, chlorine gas, methyl isocyanate, zinc, copper, manganese, cadmium, iron, magnesium, nickel, brass, selenium, tin, antimony, diphenylmethane diisocyanate, trimellitic anhydride, hydrocarbons, thermosetting resins, toluene diisocyanate, oxygen, mercury, oils, fats and pyrethrum
Dental No underlying causes
Dermatologic No underlying causes
Drug Side Effect No underlying causes
Ear Nose Throat No underlying causes
Endocrine No underlying causes
Environmental Macropolyspora faeni, thermactinomyces vulgaris, thermactinomyces sacchari, aspergillus, cryptostroma corticale, aureobasidium pullulans, penicillium, bacillus subtilis, bacillus cereus, bird droppings, nepheline, and diatomaceous earth
Gastroenterologic No underlying causes
Genetic No underlying causes
Hematologic No underlying causes
Iatrogenic No underlying causes
Infectious Disease Macropolyspora faeni, thermactinomyces vulgaris, thermactinomyces sacchari, aspergillus, cryptostroma corticale, aureobasidium pullulans, penicillium, bacillus subtilisbacillus cereus, bird droppings, nepheline, and diatomaceous earth
Musculoskeletal/Orthopedic No underlying causes
Neurologic No underlying causes
Nutritional/Metabolic No underlying causes
Obstetric/Gynecologic No underlying causes
Oncologic No underlying causes
Ophthalmologic No underlying causes
Overdose/Toxicity No underlying causes
Psychiatric No underlying causes
Pulmonary No underlying causes
Renal/Electrolyte No underlying causes
Rheumatology/Immunology/Allergy No underlying causes
Sexual No underlying causes
Trauma No underlying causes
Urologic No underlying causes
Miscellaneous Coal dust, graphite, tin, aluminum, cadmium, tungsten, titanium, cobalt, iron, antimony, hematite, mixed dusts of silver and iron oxide, copper sulfate neutralized with hydrated lime, cerium, scandium, yttrium, and lanthanum

Causes in Alphabetical Order


  1. Goldman RH, Peters JM (1981). "The occupational and environmental health history". JAMA. 246 (24): 2831–6. PMID 7310975.
  2. Banauch GI, Hall C, Weiden M, Cohen HW, Aldrich TK, Christodoulou V, Arcentales N, Kelly KJ, Prezant DJ (2006). "Pulmonary function after exposure to the World Trade Center collapse in the New York City Fire Department". Am. J. Respir. Crit. Care Med. 174 (3): 312–9. doi:10.1164/rccm.200511-1736OC. PMC 2648115. PMID 16645172.
  3. Banauch GI, Dhala A, Alleyne D, Alva R, Santhyadka G, Krasko A, Weiden M, Kelly KJ, Prezant DJ (2005). "Bronchial hyperreactivity and other inhalation lung injuries in rescue/recovery workers after the World Trade Center collapse". Crit. Care Med. 33 (1 Suppl): S102–6. PMID 15640671.
  4. Prezant DJ, Weiden M, Banauch GI, McGuinness G, Rom WN, Aldrich TK, Kelly KJ (2002). "Cough and bronchial responsiveness in firefighters at the World Trade Center site". N. Engl. J. Med. 347 (11): 806–15. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa021300. PMID 12226151.
  5. Tarlo SM, Lemiere C (2014). "Occupational asthma". N. Engl. J. Med. 370 (7): 640–9. doi:10.1056/NEJMra1301758. PMID 24521110.
  6. Tarlo SM, Balmes J, Balkissoon R, Beach J, Beckett W, Bernstein D, Blanc PD, Brooks SM, Cowl CT, Daroowalla F, Harber P, Lemiere C, Liss GM, Pacheco KA, Redlich CA, Rowe B, Heitzer J (2008). "Diagnosis and management of work-related asthma: American College Of Chest Physicians Consensus Statement". Chest. 134 (3 Suppl): 1S–41S. doi:10.1378/chest.08-0201. PMID 18779187.
  7. Christiani DC, Mehta AJ, Yu CL (2008). "Genetic susceptibility to occupational exposures". Occup Environ Med. 65 (6): 430–6, quiz 436, 397. doi:10.1136/oem.2007.033977. PMC 3815576. PMID 18487431.