Occupational asthma

  • Definition

    Occupational asthma is a lung disorder in which various substances found in the workplace lead to breathing difficulties.

    See also:

    • Asthma

    Alternative Names

    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:

    • Bakers
    • Detergent manufacturers
    • Drug manufacturers
    • Farmers
    • Grain elevator workers
    • Laboratory workers
    • Metal workers
    • Millers
    • Plastics workers
    • Woodworkers