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June/July 2013 (vol. 10/1)
Occupational exposure link to adult-onset asthma
Men exposed to epoxy compounds, diisocyanates and acrylates are at increased risk of adult-onset asthma, with hazard ratios particularly high among non-atopic individuals, according to this North European population study. More than 16,000 people completed asthma-symptoms and job-history questionnaires in 1999–2001, having participated in baseline screening in 1989–1992. Significant raised risks for men were from exposure to: plant-associated antigens (hazard ratio (HR) = 3.6; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.4–9.0); epoxy compounds (HR =2.4; CI 1.3–4.5); diisocyanates (HR = 2.1; CI 1.2–3.7); and accidental peak exposures to irritants (HR = 2.4; CI 1.3–4.7). The increase in risk was generally more pronounced in non-atopic men: acrylates (HR = 3.3; 95% CI 1.4–7.5); epoxy (HR = 3.6; CI 1.6–7.9); diisocyanates (HR =1.5; CI 1.3–6.0); and accidental peak exposures to irritants (HR = 3.0; CI 1.2–7.2). Both men (HR = 2.6; CI 1.1–6.1) and women (HR = 2.0; CI 1.2–3.0) exposed to cleaning agents had an increased asthma risk, with the risks raised further among non-atopic individuals – (male HR = 4.1; CI 1.4–12.1; female HR = 2.5; CI 1.4–5.0). The population-attributable risk for occupational asthma was around 14% for men and 7% for women.
Occupational Health at Work June/July 2013 (vol. 10/1) pp40