Occupational Asthma Reference

Arif AA, Delclos GL, Whitehead LW, Tortolero SR, Lee ES, Occupational exposures associated with work-related asthma and work-related wheezing amongst U.S workers, Am J Ind Med, 2003;44:368-376,

Keywords: cleaner, nhanes, usa,

Known Authors

Jordi Delclos, Texas University, Houston Jordi Delclos

Ahmed Arif, University of North Carolina Ahmed Arif

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National estimates of occupational asthma (OA) in the United States are sparse.

Using data from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III) 1988-1994, we analyzed associations between occupation and work-related asthma and work-related wheezing among U.S. workers.

This study identified several occupations that were at risk of developing work-related asthma and/or wheezing, with cleaners and equipment cleaners showing the highest risks. Other major occupations identified were farm and agriculture; entertainment; protective services; construction; mechanics and repairers; textile; fabricators and assemblers; other transportation and material moving occupations; freight, stock, and material movers; and motor vehicle operators. The population attributable risks for work-related asthma and work-related wheezing were 26% and 27%, respectively.

This study adds evidence to the literature that identifies work-related asthma as an important public health problem. Several occupations are targeted for additional evaluation and study. Of particular interest are cleaners, which are being increasingly reported as a risk group for asthma. Future intervention strategies need to be developed for effective control and prevention of asthma in the workplace.

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