Occupational Asthma Reference

Dumas O, Wiley AS, Quinot C, Varraso R, Zock J, Henneberger PK, Speizer FE, Moual NL, Camargo CA, Occupational exposure to disinfectants and asthma control in US nurses, Eur Respir J, 2017;50:1700237,10.1183/13993003.00237-2017

Keywords: biocide, cleaner, nurse, usa, questionnaire, ep, cs, jem, asthma

Known Authors

Paul Henneberger, NIOSH, Morgantown, USA Paul Henneberger

Jan-Paul Zock, Municipal Institute of Medical Research, Barcelona, Spain Jan-Paul Zock

Orianne Dumas, Villejuif, France Orianne Dumas

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Disinfectant use has been associated with adverse respiratory effects among healthcare workers. However, the specific harmful agents have not been elucidated. We examined the association between occupational exposure to disinfectants and asthma control in the Nurses' Health Study II, a large cohort of female nurses.

Nurses with asthma were invited in 2014 to complete two questionnaires on their current occupation and asthma (response rate 80%). Asthma control was defined by the Asthma Control Test (ACT). Exposure to major disinfectants was evaluated by a job–task–exposure matrix (JTEM).

Analyses included 4102 nurses with asthma (mean age 58 years). Asthma control was poor (ACT score 16–19) in 12% of nurses and very poor (ACT score =15) in 6% of nurses. Use of disinfectants to clean medical instruments (19% exposed) was associated with poorly (OR 1.37; 95% CI 1.05–1.79) and very poorly (OR 1.88, 95% CI 1.38–2.56) controlled asthma (ptrend=0.004, after adjustment for potential confounders). Using JTEM estimates, exposure to formaldehyde, glutaraldehyde, hypochlorite bleach, hydrogen peroxide and enzymatic cleaners was associated with poor asthma control (all ptrend<0.05); exposure to quaternary ammonium compounds and alcohol was not.

Use of several disinfectants was associated with poor asthma control. Our findings suggest targets for future efforts to prevent worsening of asthma control in healthcare workers

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