Respiratory Health and Indoor Air Quality in Washington's Cannabis Industry

Marijuana is now medically legal in 38 states and recreationally legal in 11 states, including Washington, Oregon and Alaska. Due to the drug's illegal history, there is a lack of scientific study on the occupational hazards for this workforce. A recent report identified 23 potentially hazardous exposures, and with the rapid growth of the cannabis industry, there is now a large worker population with potential exposures.

This pilot research aimed to improve occupational health for cannabis production workers, by quantifying the specific hazards potentially associated with respiratory health concerns, and identifying appropriate industrial hygiene solutions to mitigate those hazards. Broadly, the pilot will build the research base of this emerging industry.

This study assesses airborne contaminants and evaluates associated airway inflammation and/or respiratory symptoms. Our goal is to provide solutions to the industry to improve workplace safety and reduce occupational exposures.

Principal Investigator: Christopher Simpson, PhD, MSc
Professor, Assistant Chair for Research and Faculty Engagement
Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences
University of Washington

PNASH Pilot Program 2018 – 2020

Partners and Advisories:
The Cannabis Alliance
PNASH's Emerging Issues Fund
Washington State Department of Labor
Industries' Safety and Health Investment Projects

Resources:
Marijuana Growing - Occupational Health and Safety webpage
Protecting the Pot Workforce, DEOHS Health and Safety Matters blog
Shine a Light on Safety! Free UV Light Exposure Safety Guides in English and Spanish