Disease/Syndrome

Asthma, occupational

Category

Airway Disease

Acute/Chronic

Chronic

Synonyms

Occupational Asthma (OA);

Biomedical References

Search PubMed

Comments

Immunologic asthma develops after a variable period of time during which sensitization to an agent present in the workplace takes place. Immunologic asthma can be classified as that caused by high-molecular or low-molecular weight compounds. To make the diagnosis of occupational asthma (OA), one must first confirm the presence of airway hyperreactivity. [Sullivan, p. 218] "Occupational asthma is a disease characterized by variable airflow limitation and/or hyperresponsiveness and/or inflammation due to causes and conditions attributable to a particular occupational environment and not to stimuli encountered outside the workplace." The two types of OA are: 1.) After a latency (allergic); and 2.) Without a latency period (nonallergic). The second type includes irritant induced asthma or RADS, which follows single or multiple exposures to "nonspecific irritants at high concentrations." [Asthma in the Workplace, p. 4-5] In Norway from 1995-1999, an average of 223 annual cases were reported with the highest incidence in the primary aluminum industry, and in bakers, car painters, and welders. [PMID 16142736] In the UK, about half of all new cases are caused by isocyanates, flour/grain, glutaraldehyde, solder/colophony, laboratory animals, resins/glues, and latex. [PMID 14504356] In 1993-1997 surveillance data from California, Massachusetts, Michigan, and New Jersey, 16% of cases were health-care workers, many of them nurses, with cleaning products, latex, and poor air quality the most frequently reported exposures. In the updated report for 1993-2000, 9% of work-related asthma cases were reported in educational services due to indoor air pollutants, unspecified mold, dusts, and cleaning products. [PMID 15712261]; [PMID 18033692] OA decreased in the West Midlands, UK between 1991 and 2011.associated with preventive activities to raise awareness of isocyanate exposure in motor vehicle repair body shops and to substitute nitrile for latex gloves, non-colophony for colophony soldering fluxes, and other disinfectants for glutaraldehyde in cold sterilization. [PMID 25608805] From 2000 to 2012, incidence of OA was declining in most countries "consistent with a positive impact of European initiatives addressing the relevant exposures." [PMID 25575531] See "Asthma, irritant induced."

Latency/Incubation

Months to years

Diagnostic

History; Pulmonary function test; Methacholine challenge test; Specific challenge test

ICD-9 Code

493.0

Reference Link

Agents Causing Occupational Asthma with Key References.

Related Information in Haz-Map
Symptoms/Findings

Symptoms/Findings associated with this disease:

Job Tasks

High risk job tasks associated with this disease:

Agents

Hazardous agents that cause the occupational disease: