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24 November 2011

France: respiratory diseases, the major occupational illnesses

Every year, the National Network for the Monitoring and Prevention of Occupational Illness, which is an arm of the French agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health Safety (ANSES), publishes a report on the major occupational risks.
According to its latest report, issued last October, respiratory diseases are the most commonly recorded (24 %), followed by mental and behavioural problems (22 %), skin diseases (17 %), osteoarticular diseases (16 %), tumours (7.6 %) and hearing complaints (5.6 %).
Among the emerging phenomena observed, the network reports a very steep increase since 2001 in cases of asthma in the health and social sectors, whereas cases have been declining in sectors traditionally affected by these conditions, such as the rubber and plastics industries.
Hospital culprits include new disinfectant products made of biocide or quaternary ammonium, which are particularly toxic. The report notes that when we look at who is affected by occupational asthma in the national education sector, the hotel and catering trade or personal services, the vast majority of cases involve maintenance staff.

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