Research

Work-related asthma triggered within two years

A US study spanning five decades has found that a significant proportion of adult asthma cases can be attributed to workplace triggers and workers can develop the illness in as little as two years, underscoring the need for employers to reduce exposures and monitor staff.

In the study of nearly 14,000 workers, the public health researchers from the University of North Carolina found those working in high asthma risk occupations in the agriculture, cleaning, hospitality, healthcare, beauty, manufacturing and construction sectors are more than four times as likely to have asthma than those in low-risk occupations.

The found that work exposures to asthma triggers may cause or aggravate about 11 per cent of all adult asthma and increase the risk of work-life asthma by 60 per cent.  They said that while the greater prevalence of asthma in high-risk occupations was expected, "what was not known prior to this study was the size of the extra asthma risks linked with occupation".

The researchers say the results highlight the importance of employers reducing exposure to asthma triggers, monitoring workers for signs of asthma and limiting exposures for those with symptoms. They also argue there needs to be better public health education on workplace exposures and healthcare professionals asking patients about their workplace exposures.
Read more: James Laditka, et al,Work-related asthma in the USA: nationally representative estimates with extended follow-up. [Abstract]  Occupational and Environmental Medicine, online first May 2020. Source: OHSAlert

 

 

 

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