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How can we improve awareness about air pollution and occupational lung conditions?

How can we improve awareness about air pollution and occupational lung conditions?

People with lung conditions, professionals and policymakers are gathering at a workshop in Brussels today and tomorrow (22-23 March, 2016) to discuss the best way of communicating about air pollution risk.

Air pollution has major adverse effects on health. Although information is available, there is a lack of behaviour-change advice. Patients and the public remain confused about how they can avoid the harm caused by air pollution and clinicians do not routinely discuss this with their patients. For example, what is the risk for an asthmatic on a high pollution day – and how should it be presented? The workshop aims to provide basic guidance on current knowledge and expert consensus in the field, to help the public and people with lung conditions understand the risk and to inform policymakers with a view to improving legislation in this field.

Current and future challenges exist in the field of occupational lung disease: the structure of industries, the workforce demography and diminishing role of governmental organisations will all have an impact on occupational respiratory disease.

The workshop aims to provide an overview of the progress in the field of occupational respiratory diseases and prevention over the years, knowledge about the current and future needs in the field of occupational respiratory diseases and recommendations to employers, employees and policy-makers in the field of occupational respiratory diseases.

The recommendations and materials produced at the workshop will also be used for the ERS/ELF Healthy Lungs for Life (HLFL) campaign this year in London and also across the globe when people carry out their own HLFL events.

Dan Smyth, ELF Chair, commented: “Air pollution affects us all, every day of the year, yet how many people are clear about the best way to avoid the harm it can cause? We need consistent and reliable advice that can be used by all stakeholders to improve the way we communicate about this topic and the outcomes of this workshop will provide this.”

“The changing environment in the occupational field is also an acute reminder of the importance of education about the health risks found in a workplace. We need to ensure that all stakeholders in this field are have accurate information to improve decision-making to benefit employees health.

“We are pleased that both these topics will be put in the spotlight later this year in our third Healthy Lungs for Life campaign.”

HLFL was set up by ERS and ELF in 2014 as one of the largest ever lung health campaigns aiming to raise awareness of the importance of healthy lungs and how to protect them to healthcare professionals, scientists, primary care, patients, policy makers and the public. In 2016, the campaign will focus on the importance of clean air for lung health.

Find out more about Healthy Lungs for Life