Microbiologically Contaminated Aerosols
Bacteria and fungi and other organisms may proliferate in reservoirs of water (or sometimes other materials such as metal working fluid). Inhalation can result from subsequent nebulisation, for instance in air conditioning systems, water used to damp down dust, pressure washing and machining and cleaning of metal.
The bacterial content is modified by biocides, which themselves are a cause of occupational asthma. Coolant fluids may also accumulate material from the items being cooled, particularly cobalt and chrome from metals. IgG and, less frequently IgE antibodies can sometimes be found, but relate more to exposure than disease. Some coolant fluids contain elevated levels of endotoxin. There are positive challenges showing both asthma and alveolitis with aerosols from metal working fluids and humidifiers.
The Oasys Audit scheme started midway through 2010 and collects agents typed in through the Oasys program. The years before 2010 show old data entered during 2010 or later and are likely to have many fewer notifications. We expect Oasys to become more widely adopted as time goes by so increasing notifications does not necessarily mean an increasing problem.