Occupational lung diseases: From old and novel exposures to effective preventive strategies

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


Occupational exposure is an important, global cause of respiratory disease. Unlike many other non-communicable lung diseases, the proximal causes of many occupational lung diseases are well understood and they should be amenable to control with use of established and effective approaches. Therefore, the risks arising from exposure to silica and asbestos are well known, as are the means of their prevention. Although the incidence of occupational lung disease has decreased in many countries, in parts of the world undergoing rapid economic transition and population growth-often with large informal and unregulated workforces-occupational exposures continue to impose a heavy burden of disease. The incidence of interstitial and malignant lung diseases remains unacceptably high because control measures are not implemented or exposures arise in novel ways. With the advent of innovative technologies, new threats are continually introduced to the workplace (eg, indium compounds and vicinal diketones). In developed countries, work-related asthma is the commonest occupational lung disease of short latency. Although generic control measures to reduce the risk of developing or exacerbating asthma are well recognised, there is still uncertainty, for example, with regards to the management of workers who develop asthma but remain in the same job. In this Review, we provide recommendations for research, surveillance, and other action for reducing the burden of occupational lung diseases.


  • Paul Cullinan
  • Xavier Muñoz
  • Hille Suojalehto
  • Raymond Agius
  • Surinder Jindal
  • Torben Sigsgaard
  • Anders Blomberg
  • Denis Charpin
  • Isabella Annesi-Maesano
  • Mridu Gulati
  • Yangho Kim
  • Arthur L. Frank
  • Metin Akgün
  • David Fishwick
  • Rafael E. de la Hoz
  • Subhabrata Moitra
External organisations
  • Aarhus University
  • Umeå University
  • University of Sheffield
  • Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
  • Imperial College London
  • Vall d'Hebron University Hospital
  • Finnish Institute of Occupational Health
  • University of Manchester
  • Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research
  • Aix-Marseille University
  • Pierre and Marie Curie University
  • Yale University
  • Lund University
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Environmental Health and Occupational Health
  • Respiratory Medicine and Allergy
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)445-455
JournalThe Lancet Respiratory Medicine
Issue number5
Early online date2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Publication categoryResearch