Asthma Awareness Month and the Importance of Addressing Known Triggers and Airborne Irritants in the Workplace

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Source: Cochrane & Associates, LLC

The American Board of Industrial Hygiene® supports the efforts of building awareness of asthma and ways it can be managed in the work environment.

Lansing, MI -- The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that between 100 and 150 million people across the globe have asthma and that deaths due to it now total over 180,000 each year. In the United States, the American Lung Association states that approximately 25 million people suffer from the disease. Globally, the rate of those with the condition has been on the increase and figures from the WHO indicate a 60% increase in asthma in just the U.S. since the early 1980s. 

Asthma can impact the lives of everyone from children to seniors, and working adults are no exception.  The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) reports, “An estimated 11 million workers in a wide range of industries and occupations are exposed to at least one of the numerous agents known to be associated with occupational asthma. Occupational factors are associated with up to 15 percent of disabling asthma cases in the United States.”

In a recent news release from the American Lung Association, 21.5% of working adults with asthma report their symptoms are made worse from exposure to indoor air pollution found at their worksite.

“Asthma is a serious and sometimes fatal condition, but it can be managed through awareness, treatment by medical professionals and the avoidance of asthma triggers,” said Nicole Greeson, CIH® and Chair of ABIH®.  “In the work environment, a key component to this is reducing or eliminating exposure to respiratory allergens and irritants.  Certified Industrial Hygienists are uniquely qualified to help prevent exposure to these and to help prevent new cases of occupational asthma from occurring in the first place.  CIHs are trained and experienced in conducting workplace assessments, air sampling, risk analysis, and engineering and exposure controls.   These and other core competencies of a CIH’s education are critical for establishing and maintaining a safe and healthy work environment for asthmatics and their coworkers.”

To learn more about the American Board of Industrial Hygiene®, Certified Industrial Hygienist® credential or to locate a CIH® to perform industrial hygiene services, please visit www.ABIH.org, email abih@ABIH.org or call (517) 321-2638.

About the American Board of Industrial Hygiene®

Since 1960, ABIH®, a not-for-profit corporation, has been the world's largest, premier organization for certifying professionals in the practice of industrial hygiene. ABIH® is responsible for ensuring high-quality certification including education, experience, examination, certification maintenance and ethics enforcement.  Currently, more than 6800 people are certified to use the CIH® designation.

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