Occupational Asthma

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Substances causing Occupational Asthma:

Substances which cause Occupational Asthma are commonly known as triggers. At least 240 substances are known to cause OA when inhaled. They are classified in 5 categories.

Respiratory irritants:
Like smoke, sulfur dioxide, chlorine gas, ammonia.
Grain flour and food allergens:
Like Grain dust and flours (like wheat & rye), proteins of cereal grains, sea food, egg processing, green coffee beans, castor beans, ispaghula.
Animal allergens & proteins:
These are found in hairs, furs, dander, scales, saliva and other body wastes like excreta.
Enzymes are used in pharmaceuticals, detergents, flour conditioners, etc.
1.Acid anhydrides, isocyanides, complex platinum salts, poly amines,
2.Reactive dyes, units manufacturing paints, varnishes, adhesives,
3.Laminates, soldering fluxes, resins used in soldering.

Industries at risk for occupational asthma:

Most of the triggers are found widely in almost all industries and work places. But not every one will develop asthma after exposure to them. Some people are more susceptible to asthma than others. OA is more common in susceptible individual working in following industries:

  • Chemical industry
  • Rubber industry
  • Electronic industry
  • Plastic industry
  • Textile industry
  • Oil refining
  • Welding
  • Painting
  • Dyeing
  • Printing
  • Metalworking
  • Baking and food processing
  • Cleaning
  • Laboratory work
  • Gardening, landscaping
  • Horticulture
  • Working with animals

  • The development of occupational asthma depends on:
    1. Family history of asthma & allergy
    2. Amount of allergen exposure
    3. Frequency of exposure to the trigger
    4. Cigarette smoking (smoking doubles the chances of having  occupational asthma)

    Cigarette smoking doubles the risk of occupational asthma, possibly by recruiting the inflammatory cells into the lungs where they are available to react with the irritants and sensitizers.

    Repeated exposure over several months causes steady deteoration of lung functions. Clinical features then become indistinguishable from chronic obstructive lung disease. Common irritants   like cold air, smoking can precipitate asthma attack.

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    Last edited 22-08-2010

      Substances causing Occupational asthma
    Industries at risk
    Cigarette smoking and Occupational asthma

    Chemical agents causing occupational asthma