Factory workers can be exposed to dust, chemicals, and gases, placing them at risk for COPD.
In food plants, diacetyl - a flavoring agent used in microwave popcorn, some wines, and fast foods - can cause a devastating and sometimes deadly disease called bronchiolitis obliterans, a close relative of COPD.
The good news? Taking some easy steps can significantly reduce your risk. "Something as simple as when you put diacetyl into a giant pot to mix it, put the lid on and wear a filtering mask," Dr. Harber says.