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June/July 2013 (vol. 10/1)

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Research Plus

Asthma risk rises with cumulative exposure to latex

Each year of cumulative occupational exposure to latex is associated with a 5% increase in the risk of developing new- onset asthma, this population-based cohort study reveals. A total of 792 people, asthma free at age 13, were assessed at age 44 for asthma. Occupational exposures were derived from work histories and an asthma-specific job exposure matrix. A total of 419 participants had been occupationally exposed to one or more of 18 high-risk agents. New-onset asthma was associated with exposure to high molecular weight latex and cleaning and disinfecting products in the unadjusted analysis, but these associations were not significant after adjusting for sex and smoking. Cumulative exposure to latex was significantly associated with raised risk, independent of sex and smoking: 1.6-fold greater risk after six to 15 years’ cumulative exposure and 2.7-fold greater risk after 16 or more years.


Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine 2013; 55(3): 235–239.

Occupational Health at Work June/July 2013 (vol. 10/1) pp40