Workplaces contain many chemicals that can irritate a Worker’s Lungs.   These irritations can occur in two ways.   It can occur when a Worker with pre-existing conditions, such as asthma, is exposed to the chemicals.   Also, it can occur with Worker who has no pre-existing conditions.

Asthma is a significant illness within the United States Population. Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2018, 24,753,379 individuals suffered from the disease and 2,607,598 of them were from the State of California.   In addition, there are large amounts of the population that suffer from Childhood Asthma, 5,530,131, in the United States.   The large number of individuals with Asthma implies that there is a large number of the workforce has pre-existing Asthma.

This article will discuss Asthma, Fragrances, Perfumes, and Work-Related Asthma.

What Is Asthma? What Is Occupational Asthma or Work-Related Asthma?

Per the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, “Asthma is a chronic disease involving the airways in the lungs. These airways, or bronchial tubes, allow air to come in and out of the lungs. If you have asthma your airways are always inflamed. They become even more swollen and the muscles around the airways can tighten when something triggers your symptoms. This makes it difficult for air to move in and out of the lungs, causing symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and/or chest tightness.”

Occupational Asthma “is caused by inhaling fumes, gases, dust or other potentially harmful substances while on the job.”  Per the CDPH, “[a]sthma is work-related when it is caused or made worse by something at work. Symptoms can start right after an employee breathes in a substance, or hours after leaving work. Sometimes a person can suddenly develop work-related asthma from substances they have worked around for years.”

What are Fragrances?

The term “fragrances,” for the purposes of this article, refers to perfumes and products that contain “fragrances.” A “fragrance” is essentially a pleasant scent.  In essence, a perfume is a “fragrance” that is placed upon a person.   Besides perfumes, various commercial and household products are enhanced with “fragrances” so that they “smell” good.

Both perfumes and fragrances contain chemicals effect an individual’s respiratory system.  As a result of exposure to these perfumes or fragrancies, an individual may suffer from respiratory symptoms which can include wheezing, chest tightness, cough, shortness of breath, or difficulty breathing.

What About Air Fresheners?

There are problems with Air Fresheners.   Per CDHP, “Air fresheners and deodorizers come in many forms: plug-ins, sprays, liquids, and gels. These products mask bad odors rather than get rid of them. Air fresheners add chemicals to the air that can cause asthma and other health problems such as headaches and allergies.”

How Does an Industrial Onset of Asthma Arise?

Occupational or Work-Related Asthma can be from a single event of inhalation or inhalation of a substance over a prolonged period of time.

What Are Examples of Industrial Exposures?

Use of Air Fresheners: There was one report where the use of an air freshener triggered asthma symptoms required the Worker to go to the emergency room for a visit.  As a result, the Worker required treatment of oral steroids to control their asthma.

Scented Lotions: Scented lotion from one worker got on a co-worker’s jacket.  This exposure worsened the co-worker’s asthma symptoms and gave him hives.  He was required to go to the emergency room 6 times as a result of it.

What if I Need Advice?

If you would like a free consultation regarding workers’ compensation, please contact the Law Offices of Edward J. Singer, a Professional Law Corporation. We have been helping people in Central and Southern California deal with their workers’ compensation cases for 27 years. Contact us today for more information.

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