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British Lung Foundation
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Cause of COPD?

I gave up smoking in 1985 but smoking is blamed for my COPD. However, from 1954 to 1968 I worked in the gas industry (town gas) as a fitter, every day exposed to gas fumes, asbestos dust, lead and all sorts of muck and dusts from crawling beneath floorboards. Do you know if any research has been carried out into COPD and this particular occupation?

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Hi, l don't know if research has been done but my husband also has COPD. He smoked from 1966 until 1991 but also worked for a cargo airline from 1974 until 1986 in the bellies of aircraft loading and unloading all sorts, plus working at the bus garage for 12 years with diesel fumes etc. Surely these things must have played a part? Can't all be down to smoking. Xxxxx


The construction industry is known to put people at risk, I beleive stone dust is a cause.



Not sure about individual research, but lung conditions are caused by inhalation of smoke, toxic fumes or foreign matter or any combination, or previous medical condition.

Each could be direct cause or open the door for others.

Setting aside previous medical conditions, smoking will always the main culprit, whether directly on indirectly.

The body is quiet resilient it can cough up or pass through many of the invading culprits, but some like tar deposits or asbestos fibres can take hold.

Check the HSE web sight, I remember some discussion about welding fumes .



I didn't mean you were dusty. LOL.

Yes welding fumes are a cause as well.


This is interesting... I have never smoked but have had non Hodgkin's lymphoma which meant I had to have chemo and radiotherapy in my lung area which caused damage and lots of scar tissue.. Then 2 and a half years ago we had some work done on our house which involved lots of dust and I have never been the same since! Breathing problems, mucus and exacerbations I'm sure I have COPD!


It is now considered that workers in horticulture are at serious risk of developing COPD. Hubby who now has copd gave up smoking back in the early 1980's. .....Working in a glasshouse on potting machines the peat dust got everywhere. Around his waist the peat settled on his damp clothes ,every white vest had a wide area stained yellow , never could get it out. !



No doubt smoking damages the lungs but there are many people who are non smokers and suffer from COPD and other lung diseases. Then they are those who have smoked all their lives and have no lung disease. For me it is a genetic fault that leads to the likes of COPD and enhanced by the intake of smoke or other chemicals absorbed inadvertently as they go about their daily lives. There will be in time a cure for this debilitating illness but sadly I do not think it will be for generation or two, but we must keep hoping.

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Town gas was toxic (Natural gas isn't) with the main poisonous element being carbon monoxide.


Included in the long report consultant sent to my gp was a bit about evidence of aspergillosis from some time in the past. So it would appear that "stuff" can linger in an identifiable (but way past treating) form in lungs. He was looking for causes because my smoking history does not justify the extent of my problem. Blaming smoking alone is, I think, a bit too convenient sometimes.

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