Asthma and the Workplace

Asthma and the WorkplaceAsthma is a major noncommunicable disease that every year holds back about 25 million Americans. For many, it is developed in childhood, by the age of 5, sometimes adding an undue burden or difficulty towards their lives.

Impact of Asthma

For those who had it, it was a stark reminder of their inability to play sports like others, or to use an inhaler or other medical device to treat their condition. Some kids are perhaps made fun of for having to use these devices, but the immaturity of others was never a testament to one’s abilities. In fact, it often made people stronger, driving them to overcome their condition.

Asthma need not be an inherited condition. Some people develop it even with no known family history. Others have a genetic predisposition towards it but never develop it. Occupational asthma and adult-onset asthma rely less on genes and more on the conditions and circumstances of your environment.

Work-related asthma is something that you may have no control over. You don’t have a choice to quit your job because you need to support yourself. You may have not known of the hazardous nature of your workplace, either believing you can handle it or had not given it any thought.

It becomes a tug of war between oneself and their past that one comes into conflict with themselves after development of a disease. They question their actions, whether it was all worth it, and some will try to do justice on behalf of themselves.

If that is you, you will want to seek counsel in an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer. Our team of seasoned attorneys know the intricacies of representing someone with occupational asthma and will fight to get you the best results.

To know whether you are asthmatic or have asthma, you will want to check for the following symptoms:


  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest tightness or pain
  • Wheezing
  • Trouble sleeping caused by shortness of breath, coughing or wheezing
  • Coughing or wheezing attacks that are worsened by a respiratory virus, such as the common cold, flu, or even pneumonia[1]

These things can identify whether you have asthma or not. If you do, it is important that you seek medical attention from a qualified medical professional as soon as possible. This will help your workers’ compensation case and bring needed evidence towards your condition.

People in certain occupations are at higher risk of developing asthma than others. Once they have it, it can become chronic. Any job with certain irritants and substances that can inflame your airways, or make it swollen, can put you at risk. These include:

Irritants and Occupations

  • Upholstery and foam mattress manufacturers, and those working in gas stations, who can inhale vapors and chemical dusts.
  • Metal particles from refineries and industries in the manufacture of metals. Steelworkers, welders, and construction workers are at risk.
  • Animal dander such as skin flakes, or fur from cats, dogs, and other furry animals. Workers in veterinarian clinics, animal shelters, and farms see this the most.
  • Sawdust and wood particles are particularly harmful. Even though larger particles can filter out of a person’s lungs, smaller particles can go deep into the lungs, which can cause damage and scarring to lung tissue.[2] Timber workers, carpenters, and woodworkers most commonly inhale this.
  • Black mold, damp, and other fungus, typically dealt with by mold removal and remediation companies.
  • Paints contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) for painters, which can trigger asthma symptoms.
  • Bakers can get asthma from inhalation of cereal flour, or wheat flour. Others employed in food processing should take care.
  • Extended or prolonged exposure to latex in the healthcare industry can cause someone to develop asthma.


Asthma symptoms are no joke. You may think you can shrug it off or continue with untreated symptoms thinking it will go away on its own, but it can get worse. Asthma symptoms reduce one’s quality of life, and make things normally enjoyable, unenjoyable.

Even if you have a genetic predisposition towards asthma, you still may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. Certain things can increase your chances of getting asthma, such as:

  • Having an allergy-related condition, such as eczema, a food allergy, or hay fever
  • A family history of asthma or atopic conditions
  • Previous exposure to bronchiolitis, a common childhood infection
  • Exposure to tobacco and second-hand smoke when you were a child
  • Your mother smoked during pregnancy
  • Being born prematurely with a low birth weight[3]

Case Result

Notwithstanding these prior risks, you can still file a claim on behalf of work-related asthma and be able to receive financial assistance. The following is an example of a case result involving one of our clients who developed occupational asthma:

“A welder involved with steel work and demolition projects developed pulmonary issues during his employ [with Hi-Tech Steel Inc]. This included chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and asthma. The inhalation of metals dusts, diesel exhaust, and welding fumes had a significant effect. He developed depression and anxiety due to his ailments. Craig Livingston cross-examined witnesses in the worker’s trial and ensured that the respondent be responsible for all necessary medical treatment, as well as awarding our client $261,737 in disability benefits.”[4]

Experiencing Asthma-Related Symptoms Due to Workplace Irritants? Give Us a Call Today.

If you have developed asthma because of work-related exposure, you should consider filing a workers’ compensation claim. This may cover medical treatment, wage replacement, and permanent disability compensation. It can also cover death benefits for dependents of a worker who died due to their employment.

Workers’ compensation benefits may not only give you the peace of mind you deserve but can allow you to recover at a consequential time. Asthma can be serious and may even lead to another severe and obstructive lung disease later. In which case, you may have already developed a permanent disability.

How you choose to take charge of your circumstances can define how you are able to move on. If you choose to pursue legal action, consider The Workplace Lawyers as your destination of choice. Our attorneys are experienced with asthma-related cases and know how important it is for you to recover, financially and physically. Get in touch with us today by giving us a call or contacting us online.

[1] Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). (n.d.). Asthma. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved June 4, 2022, from

[2] WorkSafe. (n.d.). Wood Dust: Controlling the Risks. WorkSafe. Retrieved June 4, 2022, from,scarring%20to%20the%20lung%20tissue.

[3] Crown Copyright. (n.d.). Causes: Asthma. NHS. Retrieved June 4, 2022, from

[4] LIVINGSTON DIMARZIO BROWN, LLP. (2021, August 2). Case Results. LIVINGSTON DIMARZIO BROWN, LLP. Retrieved June 4, 2022, from is the website for the workers compensation attorneys firm of Livingston, DiMarzio LLP Our team of attorneys is made up of New Jersey Mesothelioma Lawyers, NJ Workers Comp Lawyers, Employment Lawyers and Certified New Jersey Worker’s Compensation Attorneys.