Category: Respiratory Health

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

Coffee Workers at Risk for Lung Disease

  Obliterative bronchiolitis, an irreversible form of lung disease in which the smallest airways in the lung (the bronchioles) become scarred and constricted, blocking the movement of air, was previously identified in flavoring manufacturing workers and microwave popcorn workers who were occupationally exposed to diacetyl (2,3-butanedione) or butter flavorings containing diacetyl. Now, NIOSH research finds Read More >

Posted on by Rachel L. Bailey, DO, MPH; Ryan F. LeBouf, PhD, CIH; and Kristin J. Cummings, MD, MPH 10 Comments

Factors Associated with Poor Control of 9/11-related Asthma

  Many people who were exposed to dust and fumes during the September 11, 2001 World Trade Center terrorist attacks developed asthma. Although asthma is a chronic illness, symptoms can be prevented with medications and avoidance of triggers. However, many factors, including co-existing medical conditions, can make it difficult to keep asthma symptoms under control. Read More >

Posted on by Hannah Jordan, MD, MPH10 Comments

N95 Respirator Use During Pregnancy – Findings from Recent NIOSH Research

  Recent NIOSH research has shed some light on the topic of the safety of N95 filtering facepiece respirators (FFR) use by pregnant workers. Women make up approximately one-half of the US work force. At any given time, about 10% of those female workers of child-bearing age (15–44 years of age) will be pregnant. Because Read More >

Posted on by Raymond Roberge, MD, MPH; Jung-Hyun Kim, PhD; and Jeffrey B. Powell, MS15 Comments

Silicosis Update

  Silicosis is a potentially fatal but preventable occupational lung disease caused by inhaling respirable particles containing crystalline silicon dioxide (silica). Quartz, a type of crystalline silica, is the second most abundant mineral in the earth’s crust and workers across a wide range of occupations and industries are exposed to silica-containing dusts. The risks, causes, Read More >

Posted on by Jacek Mazurek, MD, MS, PhD and David Weissman, MD 107 Comments

Respiratory Hazards for Latino Horse Farm Workers

With the upcoming Belmont Stakes and the possibility of a Triple Crown winner, all eyes are on the world of horse racing. These races are the culmination of years of work far from the glory of the grand stage of horse racing. What is not seen on this grand stage is that there are many Read More >

Posted on by Jennifer E. Swanberg, Ph.D., MMHS, OTR and Jess Miller Clouser, MPH 1 Comment

Cleaning for Asthma-Safer Schools Reduces Asthma Risk, Saves Money

  A 43-year-old high-school custodian started having breathing problems he associated with using a bathroom disinfectant and a floor stripper. When he was away from the chemicals for a few months, his breathing problems improved. The problems came back once he returned to work. He visited the emergency room several times, and healthcare providers repeatedly Read More >

Posted on by Debbie Shrem, MPH; Justine Weinberg, MSEHS, CIH; Jennifer Flattery, MPH; Barbara Materna, PhD, CIH3 Comments

Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report: Workers’ Memorial Day 2015

  On Workers’ Memorial Day we acknowledge the toll that work-related exposures have taken on American workers, their families, and communities. Each year, NIOSH collaborates with the staff of the CDC Mortality and Morbidity Weekly Report (MMWR) to publish the most recent NIOSH analyses of occupational illness and injuries, and investigations of occupational hazards. The Read More >

Posted on by Kerry Souza, ScD, MPH 2 Comments

The Silica/Asphalt Milling Machine Partnership – All Good Things Need Not Come to an End

A recent ceremony at World of Asphalt 2015 celebrated the success of the Silica/Asphalt Milling Machine Partnership’s accomplishments to develop and validate engineering controls for silica dust in asphalt milling operations. The partnership between government, industry, labor was coordinated by the National Asphalt Pavement Association over the past decade to design, test, and implement engineering Read More >

Posted on by Duane Hammond, MS, PE4 Comments

WTC Rescue/Recovery and Obstructive Airway Disease

  The inhalation of chemicals, particulate matter (dusts and fibers), and the incomplete products of combustion during occupational and environmental disasters has long been associated with respiratory disorders[1]. While there is substantial literature on the association between respiratory diseases and chronic environmental exposures such as air pollution and long term occupational exposure in industries such Read More >

Posted on by Charles B. Hall, PhD6 Comments

N95 Day 2014: Respirator Preparedness – Where Technology Meets Good Practices

N95 Day is finally here again. We hope that you have been looking forward to it as much as we have! N95 Day has become an annual observance, now in its third year. This year we are focusing on the specific theme of “Respiratory Preparedness: Where Technology Meets Good Practices.” Confidence and familiarity with proper Read More >

Posted on by Jaclyn Krah, MA4 Comments

National Doughnut Day

Whether you are celebrating National Doughnut Day today with the traditional glazed or a trendy bacon-infused delicacy, take a moment to think about those who bring you these sugary breakfast treats.  We are not passing judgment nor endorsing your breakfast selection (that question is better addressed by you and your nutritionist) but instead encouraging all Read More >

Posted on by Julie Tisdale Pardi, MA 12 Comments

Coccidioidomycosis: An Enduring Work-Related Disease

Background Coccidioidomycosis, also known as Valley Fever, is a disease caused by the fungus Coccidioides. The fungus grows in the soil in very dry areas. Coccidioidomycosis is endemic (native and common) in the southwestern United States, the Central Valley of California, Mexico, and parts of Central and South America [CDC 2013a]. About 150,000 new infections Read More >

Posted on by Marie A. de Perio, MD; Gregory A. Burr, CIH10 Comments

Do We Need to Challenge Respirator Filters With Biological Aerosols?

The purpose of this NIOSH Science Blog is to explain what is currently known about an important aspect of respirator filtration.  For decades, respirator researchers have been asked whether filters need to be tested with aerosols similar to those encountered in the environment (Figure 1).  Common sense suggests that viruses or bacteria are collected differently Read More >

Posted on by Lisa M. Brosseau, ScD, CIH and Ronald Shaffer, PhD 8 Comments

Silica Hazards from Engineered Stone Countertops

A new engineered stone countertop product known as “quartz surfacing,” was created in the late 1980s by combining quartz aggregate with resins to create a product for use in home building and home improvement.  Manufacturing of this material, including products such as CaesarStone™, Silestone™, Zodiaq™, or Cambria™ is a fast growing industry.  First made in Read More >

Posted on by Karen Worthington, MS, RN, COHN-S; Margaret Filios, SM, RN; Mary Jo Reilly, MS; Robert Harrison, MD, MPH; and Kenneth D. Rosenman, MD 59 Comments

Powerful New Videos Encourage Those Who Qualify to Seek Care through the World Trade Center Health Program

Though the September 11th attacks were over a decade ago, thousands of people who were in the affected areas continue to experience physical and mental health symptoms as a result of their experience in the days, months, and even years following 9/11. They may not recognize that some cancers, a chronic cough, difficulty sleeping, or Read More >

Posted on by Melissa Van Orman, MA25 Comments

Happy N95 Day! A Guide to N95 Resources

  Welcome to year two of this NIOSH-approved observance, marking N95 day as an official annual event. (We debated about decorating our offices with N95s – but that seemed a tad wasteful). To those who missed the memo last year, let us update you. Because N95 respirators are so important to the health and safety Read More >

Posted on by Jaclyn Krah, MA 13 Comments

Contractors Wanted: Help NIOSH Advance Research to Protect Workers from Silica

Are you a contractor whose company has at least three years of field experience cutting fiber cement siding with a circular saw? Has your company installed fiber cement siding on at least three large residential jobs? Do you have an upcoming job where fiber cement siding will be cut and installed for at least eight Read More >

Posted on by Chaolong Qi, PhD15 Comments

Lung Cancer Screening in the Occupational Setting – An Update

  Last year we posted two blogs on the use of computerized tomography (CT) scans of the chest for lung cancer screening — Helical CT Scans and Lung Cancer Screening1  and Low-dose CT Scans and Lung Cancer Screening in the Occupational Setting.2   Since the postings, various organizations have provided guidance with differing implications for early detection Read More >

Posted on by Simone Tramma, MD, MS; Eileen Storey, MD, MPH; David Weissman, MD 2 Comments

Wildland Fire Fighting Safety and Health

Wildland fires continue to increase in the Western United States as hot, dry and windy conditions persist, resulting in an extended fire season and factors conducive to fires. Currently, drought conditions are prevalent in the West due to low snow-pack levels, below average rainfall, record setting temperatures and high winds, resulting in a greater than Read More >

Posted on by Corey Campbell and Liz Dalsey 28 Comments