Occupational Asthma Reference

Weinmann T, Forster F, von Mutius E, Vogelberg C, Genuneit J, Windstetter D, Nowak D, Radon K, Gerlich J., Association Between Occupational Exposure to Disinfectants and Asthma in Young Adults Working in Cleaning or Health Services - Results From A Cross-Sectional Analysis in Germany., J Occup Environ Med, 2019;:,10.1097/JOM.0000000000001655

Keywords: Cleaning, oa, germany, ep, cs, healthcare

Known Authors

Dennis Nowak, Institute fur Arbeits, Munich Dennis Nowak

Katja Radon, Ludwig Maximillian University, Munich Katja Radon

Erika von Mutius, Helmholtz Center Munich Erika von Mutius

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To analyse the association of occupational disinfectants use with asthma and wheezing in young professionals.

365 participants from the German Study on Occupational Allergy Risks II aged 20 to 24 years and working in cleaning or health services answered a questionnaire on respiratory health, occupational exposure to disinfectants, and potential confounders. By logistic regression we calculated the association between duration of occupational disinfectants exposure and doctor-diagnosed asthma, current asthma, and current wheezing.

Individuals exposed to disinfectants for more than twelve months had almost three times the odds of doctor-diagnosed asthma compared to those not exposed (OR: 2.99, 95% CI: 1.36-6.55).

Our findings provide some further evidence for an association between occupational exposure to disinfectants and asthma, indicating that this association can be seen already after the first year of exposure.

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This is a continuation of the German studies of asthma from Dresden and Munich, confined to 365 young adults aged 20-24 who stated that they worked in cleaning or health-care. There was a significant risk of asthma in workers reporting disinfectant exposure. There is however no data to date the onset of asthma, either before or after disinfectant exposure. It is also very surprising that only 23% were classed as exposed to disinfectants for at least a year, and exposure at home was infrequent (18.5%). This might imply that the term disinfectant was not interpreted synonymously with biocide, which are present in a wide range of domestic cleaning products and almost universally present in healthcare as hand washes, floor and surface cleaners as well as their less frequent use for cold sterilisation. Never-the-less this paper provides some further support for the association of disinfectant use with asthma.

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