Seven “breath-taking” jobs identified

Researchers have identified seven jobs that have high staff turnover because workers are exposed to chemicals causing respiratory symptoms.

They found nearly 300 of 16,099 surveyed Norwegian workers had changed occupations because their previous jobs affected their breathing.

Cooks and chefs, welders, gardeners, sheet metal workers, cleaners, hairdressers and agricultural labourers were most at risk of respiratory symptoms – such as uncomfortable breathing, wheezing, chest tightness and allergies – and changing jobs, the researchers from the University of Oslo, the US National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health and other institutions found.

“[The study] showed that workers exposed to metals/gases, exercise/cold, cleaning/cooking and hair products/animals had an increased risk of job change because work affected their breathing compared with those who did not report such exposure,” the researchers said.

They also found most women in “breath-taking” jobs were exposed to metalworking fluids, animal-derived agents or cleaning agents, while exposure to mixed agricultural materials, welding or soldering fumes and other metal dust was more prevalent among men.

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