More Than Mesothelioma: 4 Other Kinds of Lung Disease Caused by Working Conditions


Many people are aware of mesothelioma and how it is often caused by working in conditions where you breathe in asbestos. However, there are many other lung diseases that can develop due to unsafe working conditions. If you believe that you have been exposed to harmful substances at work and have developed a lung condition because of it, the most important step is to seek immediate medical attention.

Here are the most prevalent and commonly occurring lung diseases that workers contract due to unsafe conditions.

Lung Disease

Black Lung Disease

Inhaling coal dust is extremely dangerous over long periods of time. The condition was known historically as “black lung” in reference to coal miners who developed the condition while working in the mines of American coal country.

Since the early days of black lung disease, several advancements in respiration technology have been invented to protect miners and have helped prevent the disease from developing. However, miners and others exposed to coal dust still develop black lung disease in the 21st century. Breathing in coal dust can trigger the onset of chronic bronchitis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

People with COPD can expect to have shortness of breath and tightness in their chest as well as a persistent cough. The coughing may produce mucus, which can vary in color.

Work-Related Asthma

The general term “work-related asthma” refers generally to any kind of asthma that a patient develops following exposure to a toxin or substance at work or develops due to other working conditions. Medical researchers have identified in excess of 300 different substances commonly encountered at worksites that can contribute to the development of work-related asthma. These include chemicals, plants, mold, animals, and dust. 

Work-related asthma contains two groups. The first group may have never had asthma before. They may not even recognize what their symptoms are exactly until they see a medical professional. The second group are people who already have asthma but have worsening symptoms due to their workplace conditions.

An experienced lung disease lawyer will fight for the money that you are owed by your employer if conditions at work caused your asthma.


Silica is a small crystalline substance found in rocks, sand, and mineral deposits. Several common jobs involve repeated exposure to silica, which can enter the lungs and cause serious damage. Over time, the silica can accumulate in the lungs after long-term inhalation, usually at a workplace. Construction, roofing, and road repair are three jobs that frequently cause silicosis in workers.

Symptoms usually start with a persistent cough or phlegm. If untreated, these symptoms develop into fatigue, difficulty breathing, chest pains, fevers, and weight loss.


Although relatively rare compared to other workplace lung diseases, byssinosis remains a hazard in the hemp, cotton, and other textile industries. The disease is caused by inhaling the tiny fibers in textiles and is regarded as a form of workplace asthma.

The condition is commonly known by its nickname, “brown lung.” Like the other conditions, symptoms of byssinosis include coughing, fatigue, and a fever. It can also include muscle pain, joint pain, and shivering. Symptoms usually decrease after a few days, but more long-term exposure can lead to more lasting symptoms.

Employers are required by law to take specific steps to secure the health of their workers and prevent injuries like the ones described above. Some of these steps include informing employees of all hazardous conditions and providing masks if necessary.

If you have contracted a lung disease due to your working conditions, remember that you have a limited amount of time to collect any money that you are legally owed. Contact an experienced attorney today to review your case and discuss your legal options. Seek medical advice for your treatment options.