Letter From the Diffuse Lung Disease and Lung Transplant Network Leadership

Hear directly from your leadership on issues affecting the specialty and the Network’s latest projects and initiatives.

May 14, 2024

Occupational and Environmental Health Section

The recent “State of the Air” 2024 reported that 39% of the US population lives in places with failing grades for unhealthy levels of ozone or particle pollution, more than in last year’s report.

This highlights the need for a better understanding of the problem, its impact on health, and approaches to address the problem. Through climate change, a much larger part of the country has been exposed to smoke from wildfires. Well-known problems such as silicosis have been increasing with cutting of artificial stone. The impact of occupational and environmental exposures on obstructive lung disease has been understood, and now the impacts on the development and course of interstitial lung disease are being better recognized.

The impact of indoor air quality, from an infectious and environmental perspective, is also being increasingly acknowledged. This remains a significant problem globally, with at-risk populations and disadvantaged groups being most affected. Newer devices and technologies allow for better monitoring and improvements, but their standardization and impact have not been well studied.

The Occupational and Environmental Health Section of the Diffuse Lung Disease and Lung Transplant Network is working to improve awareness of these issues. Our Section is an active, diverse, and inclusive group with many members taking up leadership positions. In the past year, we published “Climate Change for the Pulmonologist: A Focused Review,” in the journal CHEST® to help our community better understand and contribute to solutions. Our Network contributed to sessions on this topic at CHEST 2023, as well as the winter 2024 issue of CHEST Advocates, which highlighted how lung health is affected by air pollution, climate change, wildfires, and patient socioeconomic barriers. These impact the practice of every physician. We’re looking forward to our sessions at CHEST 2024 and new collaborations with the other members of our Network and CHEST in the year ahead.

Nitin Bhatt, MD
Chair, Occupational and Environmental Health Section



Questions about this Network? Contact networks@chestnet.org.