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Effects Of Smoking And Occupational Exposure

1750 words - 7 pages

December 22, 2003NUR 425University of PhoenixOccupational environments combined with certain home and leisure environments place many individuals at a high risk for developing lung disease. The most common pollutants found at home are carbon monoxide and cigarette smoke. Sulfur oxides, photochemical oxidants, particulate matter, anthracosis, silicosis, and asbestosis are common occupational hazards (Copstead & Banasik, 2000). Any one of these hazards or pollutants is enough to put an individual at risk for lung disease.Carbon monoxide is found in automobile exhaust, kerosene and gas space heaters, chimney and furnaces, gas stoves, generators and other gas powered equipment (US Environmental Protection Agency, 2003). It is the result of incomplete fossil fuel combustion (Copstead & Banasik, 2000). Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas, therefore if the level in a home increases, the resident may not be aware without a carbon monoxide detector or until clinical symptoms develops. Clinical manifestations include lethargy, mental status changes, headaches, and mucous membranes that are cherry-red in color (Copstead & Banasik). With exposure to carbon monoxide, the potential lung disease processes that can occur are hypoxia and respiratory failure (Copstead & Banasik). Because the usual incidence of exposure occurs in the home or an enclosed space, the EPA suggests that individuals purchase a carbon monoxide detector for his or her residence. Some relatively high-cost infrared radiation adsorption and electrochemical instruments do exist. Moderately priced real-time measuring devices are also available. A passive monitor is currently under development (US Environmental Protection Agency).Cigarette smoke, both direct and indirect, has received a lot of publicity regarding the damage that the smoke and the byproducts of the tobacco can do to the lungs. Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, claiming more that 400,000 lives per year. Cigarette smoke contains over 4,000 chemicals, including some that are toxic or cancer causing like benzene, formaldehyde and arsenic (GlaxoSmithKline, 2003). Cigarette smoke deposits up to 20 mg of tar in the lungs per cigarette (Freed, 2002). Nicotine is the addicting substance in cigarettes that, while it is not a carcinogenic, causes a deadly combination with the other chemicals. Cigarette smoke suppresses the cellular immune system in the lungs and lung-associated lymph nodes, a process that renders smokers more susceptible to respiratory tract infections and cancer (Freed, 2002). As many as 30% of all coronary heart disease deaths in the United States each year are attributable to cigarette smoking, with the risk being strongly dose-related. Smoking also nearly doubles the risk of ischemic stroke (American Heart Association, 1997). Other long-term health effects from cigarette smoke include chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and carcinoma (Copstead &...

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