Occupational lung disease

Last updated: Thursday, 23, December, 2010
CausesAppropriate Tests

Clinical assessment. Diagnostic imaging, blood gases, lung function studies as appropriate.

Lung biopsy, pleural or lesion biopsy (including FNAB) if indicated.

Allergen specific immunoglobulin E may be of value in the assessment of some forms of occupational asthma especially animal house workers.

See also Interstitial lung diseaseAsthma.

Organic dusts 

  • Mouldy hay (Farmer's lung)
  • Grain dust
  • Wood dust
  • Cotton (Byssinosis)
  • Sugar cane residue (Bagassosis)
  • Bird fancier's disease

Although precipitins to avian, fungal, thermophilic actinomycetes may be present in asymptomatic individuals exposed to organic dusts, their presence may assist to confirm disease in symptomatic patients.

Inorganic dusts

  • Asbestos
  • Silica
  • Coal dust
  • Beryllium


See Asbestosis

Toxic inhalation

  • Metal fumes
  • Polymer fumes
  • Sulphur dioxide