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Missouri Workers Compensation for a Dust-Related Illness at Work

Ongoing exposure to dust at work can lead to problems ranging from minor illnesses to life-threatening respiratory issues. Here’s what you should be aware of.

Dust is one of the most common triggers of workplace illnesses. Working in a dusty environment can make you cough, choke and wheeze. What’s more, extreme or ongoing exposure to dust can cause life-threatening respiratory problems.

Fortunately, keeping safe from occupational dust is easier when you know what you are up against. Here are the common dangers of dust in the workplace to be aware of.

Missouri worker exposed to dust at work

What Industries Are Vulnerable to Dust Exposure?

Mining Industry

From blasting and drilling to digging and cutting, mining activities produce a lot of dust. Unfortunately, these inhalable dust particles often find their way into the workers’ lungs, putting them at high risk of respiratory illnesses.

Construction Industry

Construction dust is not only a nuisance but also a health hazard. Every day, construction workers are exposed to cement, wood, glass, or metal dust. These specks of dust are toxic, and breathing them can have severe damage to their respiratory systems.

Agriculture Industry

Grinding grain and other cereals produces dangerous dust that can cause permanent lung damage. Also, workers in cotton or tobacco industries inhale harmful dust that might leave them with breathing problems.

Common Diseases Caused by Dust Exposure


Silicosis is one of the deadliest illnesses caused by dust exposure. It is caused by inhaling dust particles with crystalline silica. This leads to lung inflammation and eventually scarring in the fibrosis. Workers with silicosis experience breathing problems and may need supplemented oxygen.


You are highly likely to suffer lung or nasal cancer if regularly exposed to wood dust, asbestos, or nickel. Swallowing toxic dust can also lead to stomach cancer. Therefore, you need to be extra careful when handling these toxic materials as they can cause cancer.

Occupational Asthma

Occupation asthma generally occurs due to continued exposure to irritating dust particles such as organic, metal, or chemical dust. As a result, you may experience a runny or congested nose, wheezing, or shortness of breath. The condition may improve when you are not at work but worsen when you’re working around irritants.

Heart Diseases

Inhaling fine dust particles causes heart inflammation, which increases the risk of a heart attack. Also, metal dust can lead to a tragic heart condition known as cardiomyopathy. If your lungs are already suffering from dust-related infections, you may suffer heart failure due to the strain put on the heart.

Preventing Dust-Related Illnesses at Work

Preventing the dangers of dust at work is less stressful and more cost-effective than treating diseases associated with dust. Therefore, always wear proper PPE and follow other safety guidelines for your particular field of work.

Speak With a Workers Comp Attorney

At the Law Office of James M. Hoffmann our St. Louis workers’ compensation attorneys have been helping injured workers for decades and can evaluate your workers’ comp claim for free. Give us a call 24/7 to learn more about your legal rights after a work-related illness or injury.

Speak With a Workers Comp Attorney

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Call (314) 361-4300
Updated: May 16, 2024