Airborne Contaminants

Airborne contaminants can occur in the gaseous form (gases and vapors) or as aerosols, which include airborne dusts, sprays, mists, smokes and fumes. Airborne contaminants are of particular concern because they are associated with classical widespread occupational lung diseases, as well as with systemic intoxications such as lead poisoning, especially at higher levels of exposure. There is also increasing interest in other particulate-related diseases, such as cancer, asthma, allergic alveolitis and irritation, as well as a whole range of non-respiratory illnesses, which may occur at much lower exposure levels.

Whenever people inhale airborne contaminants at work, they are at risk of occupational disease. Year after year, both in developed and in developing countries, overexposure to particulates causes disease, temporary and permanent disabilities and deaths. Particulates in the workplace may also contaminate or reduce the quality of products, be the cause of fire and explosion, and damage the environment. The following documents can be used to aid particulate control and the reduction of disease.