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Dutch lung alliance calls for new approach to prevent work-related lung diseases

THE HAGUE, July 4 (Xinhua) -- The Lung Alliance Netherlands (LAN) on Tuesday presented an action plan to the Dutch government, calling for a concrete and integrated approach to prevent work-related lung diseases.

According to LAN, a partnership that includes patient associations, lung specialists and health insurers, around 2,000 people in the Netherlands die from work-related lung diseases per year as a result of exposure to substances at work.

LAN said that around one million people in the Netherlands worked with substances that could cause a lung disease, including welders, builders, people who remove asbestos, painters, farmers and cleaners.

With their action plan, LAN calls for better cooperation between health care providers, more labor inspections, more involvement of general practitioners (GPs), a national information campaign, and awareness raising in all sectors concerned.

"The labor inspectorate falls short when it comes to 'dusty' companies," LAN director Emiel Rolink told Dutch broadcaster NOS.

"On average, a company gets checked once in 25 years. If driving speed on the highway were checked only once every 25 years, then everyone would be driving too fast," he added.

According to Rolink, GPs have an important role to play. "They should ask much more often what kind of work a patient does. It is important for a GP to know if a patient works with dust a lot," he explained.

Employees share a part of the responsibility themselves as well, he said.

"Wear a mouth cap when working with dust and wet a stone before cutting it. Also, you could take your partner or a friend with you to check whether you are doing your job in a healthy way. If everyone pays better attention, we can prevent a lot of damage," the LAN director concluded.


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