Category: Respiratory Health

Taking it to the Streets… and the Mines

Two unique NIOSH programs bring vital safety and health screening directly to miners. Mobile Hearing Tests Miners are at increased risk for noise-induced hearing loss from the use of high-powered motorized equipment, air-powered tools, and work involving striking, drilling and digging. To protect workers’ hearing, employers must have a hearing conservation program in place which Read More >

Posted on by Amanda Azman, Au.D; Cara N. Halldin, PhD, MPH; Christopher Parker; and Julie Tisdale-Pardi, MA1 Comment

Lung Disease in Textile Workers

This blog is part of a series for NIOSH’s 50th anniversary highlighting research and prevention throughout the Institute’s history. Background Since the 1970s, NIOSH has worked to prevent illness from cotton dust. Byssinosis is an airways disease with features of both asthma and COPD that occurs with exposure to cotton dust. In the early 1970s, Read More >

Posted on by David C. Christiani, MD, MPH, SM2 Comments

Jobs and Exposures That Increase Risk for Developing COPD Later in Life

The 19th annual World COPD Day is November 18, 2020. COPD – chronic obstructive pulmonary disease – includes the chronic lung conditions of chronic bronchitis and emphysema, which are characterized by airflow obstruction and breathing-related problems. COPD is a major cause of illness, with an estimated 300 million cases worldwide, and is the 3rd leading Read More >

Posted on by Sharon R. Silver, MS, MA; Walter A. Alarcon MD, MSc; and Jia Li, MS4 Comments

NIOSH Ventilated Headboard Provides Solution to Patient Isolation During an Epidemic

To protect healthcare workers, other patients, and visitors from exposure to airborne infectious diseases, patients in hospital settings sometimes need to be placed in airborne infection isolation rooms (AIIRs). AIIRs contain specific engineered features to isolate and more-quickly remove potentially infectious patient aerosols so that they do not infect others. Isolation rooms are expensive, costing Read More >

Posted on by Kenneth R. Mead Ph.D., PE17 Comments

Are There Nano- and Microplastics in the Workplace?

The growing problem of plastic pollution in the environment is receiving an increasing amount of attention (see article in Nature). Small particles of plastics are often referred to as microplastics (plastic particles smaller than 5 mm [1]) and nanoplastics (the nanoscale fraction of plastic particles). Nano- and microplastic particles (NMPPs) can be formed through environmental Read More >

Posted on by Vladimir Murashov, PhD; Charles L. Geraci, Jr., PhD, CIH, FAIHA ; Paul Schulte, PhD; and John Howard, MD7 Comments

The Burden of Work-Related Asthma

Over 300 workplace substances have been identified to cause new-onset asthma and the list continues to grow 1, 2. Other substances can aggravate pre-existing asthma, causing increased illness and medication requirements. Work-related asthma (WRA) comprises both new-onset and work-aggravated asthma3. An estimated 15-55% of all adult asthma is related to work4-7. Since 1988, Michigan has Read More >

Posted on by Kenneth D. Rosenman, MD, and Mary Jo Reilly, MS1 Comment

NIOSH Launches Respiratory Protection Week in Celebration of 100 Years of Respiratory Protection

September is here, and we NIOSH employees have put away our Labor Day picnics to get back to the work of protecting the American labor force…. And, of course, celebrating N95 Day! Right? Yes and no. You see, this year is special. This year marks an important anniversary in the history of respiratory protection. One Read More >

Posted on by Jaclyn Krah Cichowicz, MA5 Comments

Improving Occupational Safety and Health in the Construction and Mining Industries

With nearly 126 million full-time U.S. workers at risk of occupational illness and injury, it is critical to prioritize our research efforts to address the most important issues. One approach used by NIOSH and its partners to establish priorities is to consider the burden, need, and impact of potential research topics. This method allows us Read More >

Posted on by Scott Earnest, PhD, PE, CSP; Eileen P. Betit and Dana R. Willmer, PhD2 Comments

The Use of Real-time Respirable Dust Monitors

Sensors are an increasing presence in our lives—from wearable gadgets to smart buildings, from autonomous vehicles to smart cities. In occupational health and safety, sensors are used widely for exposure monitoring, emergency response, and safer worker-machine interfaces. The use of sensors as real-time respirable dust monitors is a targeted application with its own specific challenges. Read More >

Posted on by Emanuele Cauda, PhD, and Justin Patts, BSME3 Comments

Spirometry Training Video Release

“Fill your lungs completely…and blast the air out! Keep blowing until I tell you to stop.” This coaching will sound familiar if you’ve ever performed a breathing test known as spirometry. Valid spirometry testing requires full participant effort and a carefully trained technician. Spirometry tests lung function by measuring how much and how hard a Read More >

Posted on by Kathleen Rogers, BS, RRTLeave a comment

New Research on Worker Tobacco Use

An estimated one in five working U.S. adults use some type of tobacco product according to new research from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) published in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Of the estimated 32.7 million working adults who used tobacco, an estimated 6.9 million use two or more tobacco products Read More >

Posted on by Girija Syamlal, MBBS, MPH5 Comments

Flu Virus Generated in Coughs and Exhalations

It’s flu season. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) conducts research on protecting health care providers and other workers from infectious diseases including influenza.   A significant portion of our research deals with understanding how the influenza virus is transmitted. Influenza is known to be transmitted through respiratory secretions containing the virus. Airborne Read More >

Posted on by William G. Lindsley, PhD3 Comments

Cured-in-Place-Pipe (CIPP): Inhalation and Dermal Exposure Risks Associated with Sanitary Sewer, Storm Sewer, and Drinking Water Pipe Repairs

Background Cured-in-place-pipe (CIPP) is the most popular water pipe repair method used in the U.S. for sanitary sewer, storm sewer, and is increasingly being used for drinking water pipe repairs. Today, approximately 50% of all damaged pipes are being repaired using CIPP technology. The CIPP procedure involves the chemical manufacture of a new plastic pipe Read More >

Posted on by Andrew J. Whelton, PhD; Jonathan Shannahan, PhD; Brandon E. Boor, PhD; John A. Howarter, PhD; Jeffrey P. Youngblood, PhD; and Chad T. Jafvert, PhD. 22 Comments

N95 Day 2017: When to think Beyond the N95 FFR

Buckle your seat belts! Put on your high-speed safety gear! We’re about to blast off on a journey to explore the N95 respirator … and beyond. It’s N95 Day, and that means we are focusing on respiratory protection, and invite you to do the same. We’ll make it easy. NIOSH and our N95 Day partners Read More >

Posted on by Margaret Sietsema, PhD, and Jaclyn Krah Cichowicz, MA 9 Comments

Fentanyl Exposure Risks for Law Enforcement and Emergency Response Workers

Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic drug that is similar to morphine and heroin, but is 50 to 100 times more potent. Fentanyl and its analogs, such as carfentanil, can pose a potential hazard to law enforcement, emergency medical personnel, and firefighters who could come into contact with these drugs through the course of their work Read More >

Posted on by Jennifer Hornsby-Myers, MS, CIH; G. Scott Dotson, PhD, CIH; and Deborah Hornback, MS 20 Comments

50 Years of Protecting Worker Respiratory Health

2017 is an important year for the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health’s (NIOSH) Respiratory Health Division (RHD). This is the 50th anniversary of our establishment in 1967 as the Appalachian Laboratory for Occupational Respiratory Disease (ALFORD) within the U.S. Public Health Service. ALFORD subsequently joined NIOSH in 1971, changed into the Division of Read More >

Posted on by David Weissman, MD, and Doug Johns, PhD 2 Comments

Continuous Personal Dust Monitor

Until recently, underground coal miners and mine operators had little way of knowing—in real time—if miners were being exposed to hazardous levels of respirable coal dust during their shifts. NIOSH collaborated with an instrument manufacturer, government partners, labor representatives, and coal industry leaders to develop the continuous personal dust monitor (CPDM), a technology that offers Read More >

Posted on by Steven Mischler, PhD, and Valerie Coughanour, MA, MFA 5 Comments

Occupational Health Issues in the USA

Happy New Year. As we start afresh in 2017 I wanted to share my recent editorial in the British journal, Occupational Medicine, “Occupational health issues in the USA”.  The article highlights some of the occupational safety and health issues identified as needing attention by the industry sector groups of the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA).  Read More >

Posted on by John Howard, MD10 Comments

Help Set the Research Priorities for Occupational Respiratory Diseases

  Work-related respiratory diseases include both those that are uniquely caused by work, such as coal workers pneumoconiosis, and those that are caused by both work and non-work factors. Asthma is an example of this second type of condition.  Work-related asthma is the most common respiratory disease treated in occupational health clinics in the United Read More >

Posted on by Paul Henneberger, ScD, and David Weissman, MD 20 Comments

Are Hospital Cleaning Staff at Risk When Using a One-step Cleaner?

  Workers’ health and safety is an important consideration when choosing cleaning and disinfectant products. In health care settings, disinfection products help minimize healthcare-acquired infections.  In January 2015, the National Institute for Occupational Health (NIOSH), received a request to conduct a health hazard evaluation at a Pennsylvania hospital using a new surface cleaning product consisting Read More >

Posted on by Brie M. Hawley, PhD38 Comments