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May 21, 2008

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Campaign- Look after your lungs

Hundreds of substances found in the workplace have been identified as causing occupational lung disease, a condition that can present itself in many debilitating forms, even years after exposure.

According to the latest HSE figures, 31 per cent of employers state that their workforces could be exposed to work-related breathing risks, and 142,000 employees suffer breathing or lung problems that they believe to be work-related.

Steven Binnie, category manager for respiratory protective equipment at safety equipment and workwear supplier, Arco, said: “We cannot underestimate the importance of providing employees with a well-fitting respirator, with the correct level of protection, if we are to help drive down these statistics.

Breathe Easy Week is the perfect opportunity for companies to heighten awareness of protecting one’s lungs. Although recent legislative requirements have led to a better understanding of occupational health and safety, industry is still working hard to enforce the regular wearing of PPE where risk assessment has identified its necessity.”

Talking about the highest contributor to occupational lung disease in today’s workplace environments, Steven added: “In addition to the obvious toxic chemicals, dusts and fumes, many hidden substances that can’t be seen, tasted or touched can lead to the onset of work-related lung or respiratory disease if the correct protection is not worn. For instance, high rates of occupational asthma are found in the baking industry, electronics, paint spraying and plastics, and in jobs where people have contact with natural latex rubber – often found in medical gloves.”

To find out more about Breathe Easy Week, visit the British Lung Foundation’s website, follow the link below.

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