Occupational Lung Disease

Occupational Asthma (OA) is the most prevalent chronic lung disease in developed countries. Studies have suggested that occupational factors are associated with 10% to 15% of cases of adult asthma.

OA can cause significant job disruption and economic loss. CREOD research shows that not all workers with occupational asthma get better; 80% of those affected have ongoing asthma at least 2 years after diagnosis. To achieve better outcomes, it’s important to shorten the time between the start of the asthma and its diagnosis. OA can be prevented, if the right workplace programs and practices are in place.

CREOD research addresses the full spectrum of the health and safety continuum: from prevention, exposure assessment, early recognition and diagnosis, to treatment and return-to-work. Our studies have focused on determining the prevalence, length of time between the onset of symptoms and definitive diagnosis, ongoing health effects, and work disruption associated with OA. CREOD research has also identified barriers to diagnosis, and effective prevention strategies and practices for workplaces.


Some agents can cause allergic responses in both the skin and respiratory systems. Often, the same chemical may cause WRCD in one worker, and occupational asthma (OA) in another. Prevention of these diseases depends on a better understanding of both the host factors and environmental factors involved. Our lung-skin workshop in Fall of 2006 was groundbreaking in furthering our understanding of the complex relationships and interactions between multiple agents, exposure factors, and manifestations affecting multiple organ systems.

Follow the links on the left to learn more.