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There are many types of occupational respiratory disease and several, such as pneumoconioses, were first identified more than 100 years ago and for which well established causes have been identified.
Others such as occupational asthma, have been first recognised in more recent times and causes are still being identified – thus the spectrum of such occupational respiratory diseases is changing.
However, many of these conditions can be caused by non-occupational factors, so deciding whether a particular type of respiratory disease should be considered as work-related is not always clear.
As there are separate occupational disease profiles being written for occupational cancers and infectious diseases in Australia – this report focuses on, using a literature-based review of epidemiological studies, those occupational respiratory diseases in Australia which are not malignant and those which don’t have an infectious cause.