Ayers, Whitlow & Dressler

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Workplace exposure to fumes, dust linked to lung disease

One of the things that make Charlotte such an attractive place to live is the ease with which we can escape urban life and enjoy hiking, boating, camping and many other outdoor activities in which we get plenty of sun and fresh air.

Unfortunately, much of our lives are spent indoors where we inhale recirculated air. Even worse, some workers are exposed to workplace gases, vapors, dust and fumes. Those workers are more likely to show early signs of lung disease, according to a recent study.

As many readers know, respiratory disorders are one of the illness categories that can qualify workers for Social Security Disability benefits.

The co-author of the new study said "interstitial lung disease is a family of over 100 diseases each characterized by inflammation and/or scarring (fibrosis) in the walls of the air sacs of the lungs."

Interstitial lung disease (ILD) is a group of disorders that typically cause progressive scarring of lung tissue that makes it difficult to breathe. Causes of the diseases are often unknown.

ILDs include asbestosis from asbestos exposure, black lung disease among some coal miners, and conditions caused by exposure to mold in the workplace or home.

More than 5,700 study participants had CT scans of their chests and then follow up scans six years later. They reported to researchers their on-the-job exposures to dust, vapors, gases and fumes.

Researchers also analyzed data from a study of cardiovascular disease in adults in Winton Salem and five other cities around the nation, Reuters reports.

Those with elevated exposures to dust and gases were especially likely to have opaque areas on their scans typical of ILD.

In some cases, workers exposed to these airborne elements might be eligible for workers' compensation benefits and in other cases, they might require Social Security Disability benefits.

You can discuss the details of your situation with an attorney experienced in appeals of both North Carolina workers' comp and SSDI claims.

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