Occupational Asthma Reference

Fell A, Abrahamsen R, Henneberger PK, Svendsen MV, Andersson E, Torén K, Kongerud J., Breath-taking jobs: a case-control study of respiratory work disability by occupation in Norway, Occup Environ Med, 2016;73:600-606,10.1136/oemed-2015-103488
(Plain text: Fell A, Abrahamsen R, Henneberger PK, Svendsen MV, Andersson E, Toren K, Kongerud J., Breath-taking jobs: a case-control study of respiratory work disability by occupation in Norway, Occup Environ Med)

Keywords: Norway, oa, ep, cs, cleaner, welder, gardener, sheet metal worker, cook, hairdresser, farm, key

Known Authors

Paul Henneberger, NIOSH, Morgantown, USA Paul Henneberger

Johny Kongerud, Rikshospitalet, Oslo University, Norway Johny Kongerud

Kjell Toren, Sahlgrenska University Hospital. Goteborg Kjell Toren

Eva Andersson, Eva Andersson

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The current knowledge on respiratory work disability is based on studies that used crude categories of exposure. This may lead to a loss of power, and does not provide sufficient information to allow targeted workplace interventions and follow-up of patients with respiratory symptoms.

The aim of this study was to identify occupations and specific exposures associated with respiratory work disability.

In 2013, a self-administered questionnaire was mailed to a random sample of the general population, aged 16-50, in Telemark County, Norway. We defined respiratory work disability as a positive response to the survey question: 'Have you ever had to change or leave your job because it affected your breathing?' Occupational exposures were assessed using an asthma-specific job-exposure matrix, and comparison of risks was made for cases and a median of 50 controls per case.

247 workers had changed their work because of respiratory symptoms, accounting for 1.7% of the respondents ever employed. The 'breath-taking jobs' were cooks/chefs: adjusted OR 3.6 (95% CI 1.6 to 8.0); welders: 5.2 (2.0 to 14); gardeners: 4.5 (1.3 to 15); sheet metal workers: 5.4 (2.0 to 14); cleaners: 5.0 (2.2 to 11); hairdressers: 6.4 (2.5 to 17); and agricultural labourers: 7.4 (2.5 to 22). Job changes were also associated with a variety of occupational exposures, with some differences between men and women.

Self-report and job-exposure matrix data showed similar findings. For the occupations and exposures associated with job change, preventive measures should be implemented.Published by the BMJ Publishing Group Limited. For permission to use (where not already granted under a licence) please go to http://www.bmj.com/company/products-services/rights-and-licensing

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An interesting report from an industrialised area of SW Norway identifying workers who had changed their job becaause their job affected their breathing. This identified some well-known groups with a high risk of occupatonal asthma such as hairdressers and welders, confirmed the increased risks in cleaners, but identified less common groups such as gardeners, agricultural workers, sheet-metal workers and cooks. Individual exposures with increased risks included cleaning/disinfection agents (OR=1.7); low temperatures (OR=1.9); metal dust (OR=3.7); welding fumes (OR=3.6); and paint (OR=3.2).

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