Occupational Asthma Reference

Jones, M., Schofield, S., Jeal, H., Cullinan, P., Respiratory protective equipment reduces occurrence of sensitization to laboratory animals, Occup Med, 2014;64:104-108,

Keywords: laboratory animal, oa, rpe, control, UK,

Known Authors

Paul Cullinan, Royal Brompton Hospital, London, UK Paul Cullinan

Meinir Jones, Royal Brompton Hospital, London Meinir Jones

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Respiratory protective equipment (RPE) has been shown to reduce exposure to laboratory animal allergens, but there are no studies that have examined its effect on the development of sensitization.

To examine the effect of RPE on the risk of sensitization to laboratory animals.

Survey of UK laboratory animal workers conducted between 1999 and 2001. Information was recorded on the type of RPE used when first exposed to animals and at the time of the survey. Sensitization to rat urinary proteins was assessed using skin-prick tests and assays of specific serum IgE antibodies.

There were 776 workers surveyed of whom 228 had been exposed for fewer than 5 years. Those more recently employed were more likely to have used RPE. In employees with <5 years of exposure the use of face masks at first employment was associated with a lower prevalence of sensitization, irrespective of the intensity of exposure to laboratory animals. This reduction was significant only in those who entered the animal house daily.

The use of simple RPE at first exposure to laboratory animals may help to reduce the incidence of specific sensitization.

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