Friday, February 02, 2007

Occupational Asthma On The Rise

Occupational asthma has become the most common forms of occupational lung disease in industrialized nations and accounts for 8 percent to 14 percent of all adult asthma cases, according to a report issued by the American Journal Of Respiratory And Critical Care Medicine.

The report stated that the most cost effective way of lowering the rate of occupational asthma is to reduce workers exposure to offending agents as soon as possible to prevent sensitization. Sensitization occurs when a persons airways become inflamed and narrow due to repeated exposure to a noxious substance in the workplace.

Workers in construction, metal, rubber, plastic, printing, and industrial cleaning fields have the greatest risk of occupational asthma, based on the report. The most common form of occupational asthma is induced by the immunoglobulin E (IgE) mechanism, which accounts for about 90 percent of the cases. These include wood dust, epoxy compounds in spray paints, animal, plant, insect and fungal allergens, cleaning agents, flour dust and food and animal protein.

Irritant induced asthma accounts for about 7 percent of occupational asthma cases. Metal refining, fertilizer manufacturing with ammonia and mining are among the industries where workers can develop irritant based asthma.



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