John Cherrie is Research Director at the Institute of Occupational Medicine (IOM) in Edinburgh and Honorary Professor at the University of Aberdeen, UK. He has a wide range of research interests including exposure assessment for epidemiological studies and regulatory risk assessment, dermal exposure assessment and several other topics. He has recently been involved in two health impact studies on occupational cancer.
The main workplace health challenges from hazardous substances are cancer and chronic lung diseases, such as COPD and asthma. In Europe there are between 4 and 10 million adults suffering with COPD that was cased or made worse by work, resulting in tens-of-thousands of deaths each year. Almost 100,000 Europeans die each year from occupational cancer, primarily from asbestos, diesel engine exhaust emissions, crystalline silica and a small number of other substances or mixtures. In fact the overwhelming proportion of deaths from workplace exposures are caused by a small number of highly prevalent agents. We must priorities action on these substances to reduce exposures and prevent future disease.