• Occupation-Related IPF

    Posted by christie on April 28, 2022 at 6:20 am

    Dear PF forum members, I wanted to create a space for folks who believe their IPF might be related to an occupational factor. I have seen people mention exposure to chemicals in other discussions around the forum. I think expanding on this conversation in one thread may be valuable for someone newly diagnosed to know what their options are, or what to expect if they are in that situation.

    If you have been exposed to something at work that you think might have led to your IPF, please share your story below.

    • What was it you were exposed to?
    • Was your exposure a single incident or a chronic exposure?
    • How long after exposure were you diagnosed with IPF?
    • What was your profession?
    • Have you received any benefits such as worker’s compensation or VA benefits to help you get treatment for your IPF (only discuss if you can legally share that information)
    rthorntonbresnan-net replied 1 year, 7 months ago 9 Members · 9 Replies
  • 9 Replies
  • ron-reid

    April 28, 2022 at 9:59 am

    Exposed to wood dust repeatedly over the 10 years prior to my IPF diagnosis. And I foolishly did not wear a mask. That’s the only factor I can think of that might have triggered my IPF.

    • henry

      May 5, 2022 at 2:41 pm

      I live in Northern Ireland. I worked in a oil fired Power Station in Operations for 20 years.   All Pipes in the Plant were covered/  lagged with what was called Blue asbestos.   We were exposed to this on all shifts. I have Scarring on both lungs. I attend the Respiratory lung clinical hospital for I.L.Disorder. No  consultant shall link the exposure of asbestos to the  Scarring on my lungs. I am on continuous inhalers for this disease.    It appears, I have  no legal redress against the Power Station because no Doctor will link the workplace to it.   I am an non-smoker. I am a veteran aged 70 years, time is running out.  Any answers ?

  • harletta-carathel

    April 28, 2022 at 2:33 pm

    We are farmers, I was exposed to Roundup and many other chemicals for over 35 years. They say roundup causes non-Hodgkin’s, but I had Hodgkin’s before my diagnosis. I suffered a lung scarring event with one of my chemo drugs Bleomycin before my diagnosis.
    Has anyone else with IPF been treated with Bleomycin?

  • gordon-b-sandmire

    April 28, 2022 at 3:16 pm

    I am now 81 and a retired tool and die maker. We had a shop in a thermoset plastics injection mold company.(15 yrs). The fumes from the molds permeated our area daily. I suspect but cannot prove that may have affected my IPF. I was diagnosed with IPF following a collapsed lung in 2014 although I had some breathing problems even before I retired in 2006. I have not received any benefits other than my Medicare insurance.

  • bill-s

    April 28, 2022 at 4:54 pm

    Yes, I had a 50 year career in orthotics and prosthetics and worked with wood and plastics dust, polyester  and acrylic resins, epoxies, and ketone solvents.  All in an unprotected environment.  I also smoked for 57 years.  Strangely, perhaps, I have never heard of any colleagues from my era being diagnosed with IPF or any other ILD.

    More strange, my second opinion pulmonologist has raised strong suspicions that my IPF is a misdiagnosis, as I have no symptoms after two years.  My PFT’s are all normal, I maintain 98% O2, and my HD CT scans show no progression.  He plans to wean me from the Ofev and follow up in 6 months.

    Bill Schumann

  • cecil-zlotnick

    April 29, 2022 at 10:05 am

    Hi all forum members.

    I am from South Africa.  I am a metallurgical engineer and have owned a steel heat treatment business in Johannesburg for the past 41 years.  We use certain gases and chemical in our plant.

    About 3 or 4 years ago, as a result of an accident during which a glass flow tube broke, I ingested a sudden high pressure blast of pure anhydrous ammonia directly into my lungs as I was taking a breath.  The ammonia filled my lungs and I choked for a few minutes, not being able to inhale or exhale.  Eventually I got my breath back and coughed profusely until my breathing returned to normal.  I immediately consulted my doctor who examined me and put me on cortisone for a few days. Thereafter, I appeared to have no further problems.

    In November last year, I had a bad bout of pneumonia during which I had difficulty breathing.  After a few days on antibiotics and cortisone I felt better but was sent to a pulmonologist for a checkup.  Chest X rays were done followed by a CT scan .  The CT scan revealed scarring of about 30% of lung capacity throughout my lungs.  Further blood tests were done and any autoimmune disease was ruled out which may have caused the fibrosis.  According to my pulmonologist, the scarring was old and appears to have been there for at least 18 months.

    This led me to try to find the cause of the fibrosis and the ammonia incident was foremost in my mind.  I researched literature on it and although some medical articles seemed to point to this possibility, there did not seem to be sufficient information.  When ammonia enters the lungs it reacts with moisture causing an exothermic reaction, liberating a lot of heat and burning the lungs.

    Although one would think that undamaged parts of the lungs should be unaffected, from the CT scan, pulmonologists think that the fibrosis is progressive and are sceptical about ammonia having caused the fibrosis.  There is evidence that ammonia ingestion can cause it but insufficient data on it.  We are therefore uncertain of the cause and the rate of progression.

    As a result I have been on Esbriet since January.

    Another possible cause of PF is from cholesterol lowering statin drugs, prompting an FDA warning.  I have therefore stopped taking Crestor which I had started 18 months ago.

    I’d love to hear any other instances of similar exposure.



  • paul-b-lakeland

    May 2, 2022 at 9:44 am

    For 22 years, I was exposed daily to fumes from plastics processing. Sent SDS (Safety Data Sheet) information to my pulmonologist. Will discuss during my next visit.

  • Malcolm Mann

    May 3, 2022 at 5:02 pm

    Also 70 year olds were all subjected to 30

    odd years of involuntary passive smoking.

  • christie

    May 4, 2022 at 3:06 am

    Thank you all for sharing your stories. I wonder if any of you have received confirmation from a doctor that your suspicions are true? I wonder also if there is a database for possible causes of IPF related to exposures of various kinds. That’s a question for the docs I guess.

  • rthorntonbresnan-net

    May 4, 2022 at 2:52 pm

    Good afternoon everyone. The subject of where we might have contacted this terrible disease is a good question for us all I think. The only place my doctor and I could figure out was when I worked for Owens Corning back in 1977. I was one of first hired at a new plant in Denver, Co so got involved in building things from the start. One of the assignments I had was to fiberglass the redwood troughs that where in the ceiling of the plant which was about 40 feet in the air. I was sent up there to use fiberglass resin to seal the wood. No mask was provided to stop inhaling the fumes. Well, in 2010 I ended up n the hospital and after many test including a biopsy of what was left of my right lung and it was discovered I had IPF and the possible cause was the chemicals. It was hard to believe because of number of years since  I worked there and now. I was told it stays in your system. From there I was told all about the thing called IPF. All I could do was lay there and bawl. Now I only have 1 lung left and it isn’t in great shape. I am on 24/7 oxygen set at 7L and can hardly do anything anymore without caughing my lung out and loosing my breath. Nothing can be done, so I just live day to day.



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