Occupational asthma is a lung disorder in which various substances found in the workplace lead to breathing difficulties.
Asthma - occupational exposure; Irritant-induced reactive airways disease
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
Many substances in the workplace can cause occupational asthma. The most common triggers are wood dust, grain dust, animal dander, fungi, or other chemicals (especially diisocyanates).
Though the actual rate of occurrence of occupational asthma is unknown, it is suspected to cause 2 - 20% of all asthma cases in industrialized nations.
The following workers are at higher risk:
- Detergent manufacturers
- Drug manufacturers
- Grain elevator workers
- Laboratory workers
- Metal workers
- Plastics workers
Review Date: 05/21/2009
Reviewed By: Allen J. Blaivas, D.O., Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School, Newark, NJ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.