Occupational Asthma Reference

Tarlo SM, Wong L, Roos J, Booth N, Occupational asthma caused by latex in a surgical glove manufacturing plant., J Allergy Clin Immunol, 1990;85:626-631,

Keywords: occupational asthma, latex, glove, exposure, FEV1, Skin Tests

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Susan Tarlo, Toronto Susan Tarlo

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Abstract

A 33-year-old latex glove inspector was diagnosed as having occupational asthma on the basis of peak flow and methacholine-responsiveness changes related to workplace exposure. She had latex sensitivity by skin prick testing. This finding led to a survey of her workplace. Of the 81 workers, 84% completed a questionnaire to assess work-related respiratory symptoms, 79% underwent skin prick testing to latex and six other workplace chemicals, and 62% performed workshift spirometry. Seven workers had spirometric changes consistent with asthma, of whom five had greater than or equal to 15% fall in FEV1 during the workshift. Six of these workers underwent methacholine-challenge testing, and three were found to have a significant improvement in responsiveness to methacholine away from work, suggestive of occupational asthma. Two of these workers had positive skin test responses to latex. Including the index case, 6% of workers who had pulmonary function testing had findings of latex-related occupational asthma. Skin test responses to latex occurred in 11% of workers tested. Our findings suggest that latex should be considered among the causes of occupational asthma.

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