Occupational Asthma Reference

Cherry N, Beach J, Burstyn I, Fan X, Guo N, Kapur N, Data linkage to estimate the extent and distribution of occupational disease: new onset adult asthma in Alberta, Canada., Am J Ind Med, 2009;52:831-840,

Keywords: occupational asthma, incidence, Canada, cleaner, isocyanate, agriculture, farmer

Known Authors

Jeremy Beach, University of Alberta Jeremy Beach

Nicola Cherry, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada Nicola Cherry

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Abstract

BACKGROUND:
Although occupational asthma is a well recognized and preventable disease, the numbers of cases presenting for compensation may be far lower than the true incidence.

METHODS:
Workers' Compensation Board (WCB) claims for any reason 1995-2004 were linked to physician billing data. New onset adult asthma (NOAA) was defined as a billing for asthma (ICD-9 code of 493) in the 12 months prior to a WCB claim without asthma in the previous 3 years. Incidence was calculated by occupation, industry and, in a case-referent analysis, exposures estimated from an asthma specific job exposure matrix.

RESULTS:
There were 782,908 WCB eligible claims, with an incidence rate for NOAA of 1.6%: 23 occupations and 21 industries had a significantly increased risk. Isocyanates (OR 1.54: 95% CI 1.01-2.36) and exposure to mixed agricultural allergens (OR = 1.59: 95% CI 1.17-2.18) were related to NOAA overall, as were exposures to cleaning chemicals in men (OR = 1.91:95% CI 1.34-2.73). Estimates of the number of cases of occupational asthma suggested a range of 4% to about half for the proportion compensated.

CONCLUSIONS:
Data linkage of administrative records can demonstrate under-reporting of occupational asthma and indicate areas for prevention.

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Associated Questions

Registered users of this website have associated this reference with the following questions. This association is not a part of the BOHRF occupational asthma guidelines.

Which agents cause occupational asthma and which workers are at risk?
burgeps Population study of asthma incidence showing increased rates in male cleaners, and workers exposed to isocyanates and agriculural agents

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