50 Filthiest Jobs on the Planet

As Mike Rowe has proven time and time again, “filthiest” is an extremely broad term, so please take its usage here as cheeky rather than definitive. These messy jobs and the hardworking men and women tasked with them on a daily basis require exposure to hazardous chemicals or gases, disease-carrying microbes, dirt, and numerous other dirty, disgusting dangers. Not everyone has the constitution to withstand a perpetual barrage of body fluids or coal dust or mud or decomposing organisms, and those that do deserve a special commendation for their services to humanity.

1. Manure Inspector : In spite of the fact that this job entails inspecting mounds of manure, these men and women actually serve a purpose. Analyzing the feces of livestock helps to ensure that the food supply is free of disease and contaminants.

2. Crime Scene Cleaner : Whenever a grisly murder or suicide takes place, someone has to mop up the blood, bone fragments, and other human bits after the police have collected their evidence.

3. Semen Washer : Working in sperm banks, semen washers ensure that samples contain no diseases and an agreeable count before releasing them for in-vitro fertilization. The job title also applies to adult-oriented business owners who have to clean their patrons’ leavings.

4. Hot-Zone Superintendent : Hot-zone superintendents are responsible for handling, maintaining, and studying some of the deadliest diseases on the planet – including those that can spread merely by sharing the same air space.

5. Chimney Sweep : This dangerous career path involves considerable exposure to soot and grime, which is not only dirty, but can lead to nasty respiratory problems later on down the line.

6. Plumber : Plumbing isn’t always about rescuing princesses from overgrown turtles. A goodly chunk of the time, plumbers are actually slogging through poop and wet hair in order to clean and fix pipes.

7. Trash Collector : Picking up garbage cans and hauling the contents to and from dumps or incinerators is both extremely dangerous and very, very, very dirty.

8. Farmer/Rancher : Any job involving the raising and care of animals and plants is going to involve a hefty amount of contact with dirt, grime, and excreta – some of which may harbor microbes that make humans sick.

9. Coal Miner : Coal mining is one of the most dangerous career paths on the planet, partly due to the fact that adherents whittle away their days in a haze of ash and carbon that suffocates and leads to serious health problems later in life.

10. Leather Tanner : Both traditional and modern methods of leather tanning involve complex processes using either harsh chemicals or decomposing organic matter (even brains!) to treat and preserve the hides before use.

11. Construction Worker : One of the most dangerous jobs in the United States is also one of the dirtiest, with dirt, dust, debris, tar, and other assorted nasties consistently cropping up on a daily basis.

12. Tar Worker : No matter if it involves cleaning pits or laying down the tar itself, anyone who has to work with the viscous black liquid doom deals with one of the dirtiest jobs on the planet.

13. Volcanologist : Volcanologists expose themselves not only to some of the hottest, most dangerous conditions on the planet, but noxious gases and ash as well.

14. Commercial Fisherperson : Commercial fishermen and –women, regardless of whether or not they pull up fish, shrimp, oysters, or other delicious ocean dwellers, consistently work in dangerous, wet, salty, and bacteria-ridden conditions.

15. Vellum Maker : Like leatherworking, creating vellum involves the painstaking process of curing and preparing hides for use as paper.

16. Zookeeper : Almost any job involving considerable care for animals is going to prove very messy indeed, what with the cleaning and the poop shoveling and sticking hands in various orifices and all.

17. Oilfield Worker : Dirt, oil, grime, noxious gas, and other lovely bits of detritus all factor into a normal day for anyone working on a rig or out in the field in search of black gold.

18. Gum Buster : Gum busters are responsible for cleaning the rotting splotches of decaying gum ingrained into the sidewalk.

19. Mortician : Working on preserving the decaying corpses of dead people exposes morticians to a number of unpleasant little microbes, fluids, and substances.

20. Taxidermist : Taxidermists have to remove all the blood and soft organs from the body of an animal in addition to using harsh chemicals to clean and preserve the outsides.

21. Roadkill Removal Technician : As their name implies, roadkill removal technicians are responsible for keeping the nation’s streets free of dead animal carcasses – which usually involves scooping up guts and washing up blood as well.

22. Wastewater Plant Worker : Every day, wastewater plant workers must slog through the goo and poo that passes through their facilities, putting themselves at great risk of a microbial infection.

23. Extremophile Excavator : The job title may sound like an ambiguous but totally awesome responsibility held by a mid-90’s cartoon character, but extremophile excavators actually have to root through arsenic-infused mud in order to find certain organisms.

24. Sewer Inspector : If the rushing rivers of human waste does not induce quivers of torment, then the presence of rats, cockroaches, and other vermin just might.

25. Mechanic : Whether repairing airplanes, bikes, cars, and other modes of transportation, mechanics end up coated in dirt, oil, grime, fuel, and anything else that gunks up the inside of a machine.

26. Large Animal Veterinarian : Working with horses, cows, and exotic species found at the zoo, most large animal veterinarians have likely – at some point in their careers – had to shove their arm up a patient’s rectum. And if they haven’t, then it’s only a matter of time.

27. Fish Liver Sorter : A fish liver sorter’s regular routine includes separating the organ from the seafood, then making sure they prove healthy enough for consumption.

28. Janitor : Unsurprisingly, any job that requires heavy amounts of cleaning at the end of a work or school day will also come partnered with exposure to numerous contaminants and body fluids.

29. Livestock Masturbator : Farmers in need of semen to inseminate their animals call on the services of a livestock masturbator in order to secure worthy samples.

30. Soap Maker : Except for those making pure vegan products, the process involved in making soap is extremely messy and calls for the use of lye or rendered fat.

31. Geologist : “Rock jocks” boast careers that let them dig around in mud, dirt, grass, ice, oil, and many, many other exciting, dangerous, and frequently messy locations.

32. Butcher : Carnivorous humans have to get their meat from somewhere, and butchers coat themselves in blood and gristle so their customers do not have to go out into the woods and forage for themselves.

33. Chef : While chefs do not necessarily face the dire risk of contamination as many other workers on this list, few would make the claim that kitchen work is a clean source of income.

34. Animal Inseminator : So the livestock masturbator who harvests the semen has to ship it off somewhere, and the animal inseminator tosses some Barry White on the stereo in order to get a cow pregnant.

35. Archaeologist : Like geologists, archaeologists get paid to dig about in the muck as if dirty, patchouli-drenched hippies at Woodstock, only they scavenge for bits of history rather than rocks.

36. Hoof Trimmer : Cows, horses, and other hoofed mammals pass away their carefree days stepping in mud and their own feces, which makes the job of their manicurists that much more unpleasant.

37. Dysentery Stool Sample Analyst : Perusing poo-poo for potentially deadly microbes is a job only the strong of stomach and weak of olfactory glands can do, but it helps further research into a disease that millions of people all over the world suffer from on a daily basis.

38. Worm Picker : Usually unencumbered by the burden of working for a bait shop, worm pickers pop out at night with aluminum cans at the ready and a willingness to poke through wet dirt in search of their wriggling prey.

39. Vomit Collector : Vomit collectors are a special subtype of janitors, employed by amusement parks to mop up the remains of a great time on the roller coaster gone sour.

40. Bait Shop Owner : Like their independent, worm-hunting counterparts, bait shop owners have to take care of not only nightcrawlers, but crickets, minnows, tadpoles, and other valuable but dirty creatures that attract fish in droves.

41. Chicken Sexer : Furries should calm down before jumping at the chance to become a chicken sexer, as the job actually entails braving the waste, feathers, and dander of the animals in order to determine their gender.

42. Potter : Though not a terribly dangerous job, being a potter does involve messy slip, clay, and glazes that get caked all over clothing and equipment.

43. Doctor/Nurse/Orderly/EMT : Any healthcare worker who has to interact regularly with patients has to contend with body fluids and diseases pretty regularly, making these careers only suitable for the strong-willed and –stomached.

44. House Painter : Not only do house painters have to deal with the mess that comes from their chosen medium, but some spaces require generous sandblasting and other dusty pursuits before priming can commence.

45. Exterminator : The pest control business involves exposure to and use of harsh chemicals as well as dilapidated environments and pesky, dirty vermin.

46. Crime Scene Investigator/Forensics Analyst : Whether they work at the scene of the crime or in the lab, law enforcement officials tasked with studying murder or suicide evidence put themselves at risk of biohazardous contaminants whenever a case comes to their attention.

47. Demolition Worker : Demolition work is extremely dangerous due to the heightened risk of injury or death, but it also requires participants to inhale dust, debris, and potentially hazardous chemicals.

48. Firefighter : While on the job, firefighters end up exposed to noxious fumes and harmful smoke – and that’s only while the burning continues. After they have successfully cleared that stage, they must sift through the tragic, dirty wreckage for survivors or clues to the blaze’s origins.

49. Fistula Feeder : Fistula feeders do not mind sticking their hands inside of cows in order to test their digestive tracts for any problems or reactions.

50. Storm Drain Cleaner : People who clean storm drains for a living encounter decomposing plant matter, stagnant water, and the odd pest (or carcass of a pest) on a daily basis.

Because of their bravery, stomach capacity, and possible insanity (kidding, kidding!), people who work dirty and dangerous jobs occupy an important facet of humanity. Without their devotion, many of the small things that the citizenry takes for granted – such as keeping safe the meat supply or protecting them from fires – would never get done. So salute the construction workers, the soap makers, and the livestock masturbators of the world! They quite deserve it for putting their health and safety on the line for their customers.