Study examines link between certain industries and asthma

January 30, 2013

London – Workplace exposure to cleaning agents may increase the risk of developing asthma, finds a new study from Imperial College London.

Researchers studied job histories and asthma occurrence among 7,406 British adults who did not have childhood asthma. The cohort was born in 1958, and 55 percent of the group had office jobs.

One out of six participants was found to have workplace asthma. The condition was tied to 18 industries, with particularly high risk in farming, printing and hairdressing, according to a press release from the British Medical Journal, which published the study. Four of the 18 industries involved cleaning, and three others likely used cleaning agents.

In addition to cleaning products, flour, enzymes and metals were classified as high-risk agents, and workers exposed to them were 53 percent more likely to develop asthma.

The study was published online Jan. 21 in the journal Thorax.