Work-Related Asthma Guidance for Workers

Work-related asthma is a debilitating and sometimes fatal disease. Many of those affected said they had to change or quit their job due to work-related asthma. More than 300 substances used in the workplace are known to either cause asthma in healthy workers or aggravate asthma in those who already have the condition.

Work-related asthma can be prevented. New Jersey law requires physicians, physician assistants, and advanced practice nurses to report work-related asthma cases for proper public health follow-up.

Do you have work-related asthma?

Ask yourself these 2 simple questions:

  1. Do your asthma symptoms usually start or get worse when you are at work and get better when you are away from work?
  2. Are there any materials or activities at your job that you try to avoid because they make your asthma symptoms worse?

If you answered “Yes” to either of these questions…you may have work-related asthma.

If you think you have might have work-related asthma, you need to:

  1. Talk to your doctor about your asthma and your work
  2. Ask your doctor to report your asthma to NJDOH. New Jersey law requires physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants to report cases of work-related asthma.

What are the Symptoms of Asthma?

  • wheezing
  • a tight feeling in the chest
  • coughing
  • shortness of breath
  • difficulty breathing

These symptoms usually occur during or after exposure to a particular substance at work. Symptoms usually go away during weekends and vacations and return after going back to work.

Work-related asthma is usually reversible. But permanent lung damage, or even death, can occur if exposure to the substance that causes the disease continues. In some workers, very small amounts of the substance can cause an asthma attack.

Work-Related Asthma Guidance for Employers

Resources for Health Care Providers

Work-Related Asthma Statistics

Last Reviewed: 9/19/2016