Occupational Asthma Reference

Vellore AD, Madathil S, Heinink RA, Moore VC, Manney S, Burge CBSG, Burge PS, Vitamins as asthmagens in the workplace, Eur Respir J, 2008;32:819-820,

Keywords: Asthmagen, Vitamin, QSAR, additives, exposure, hazard index

Known Authors

Sherwood Burge, Oasys Sherwood Burge

Vicky Moore, Oasys Vicky Moore

Cedd Burge, Oasys Cedd Burge

Arun Dev Vellore, Oasys Arun Dev Vellore

Sarah Manney, Birmingham Heartlands Hospital Sarah Manney

Rich Heinink, West Midlands Respiratory Trainee Rich Heinink

Shyam Madathil, West Midlands Deanery Shyam Madathil

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Vitamins are chemically unrelated organic compounds that the body cannot synthesise in sufficient quantities on its own (with the exception of vitamin D), but are essential in small amounts to maintain a normal metabolism and good health. Occupational asthma caused by thiamine (vitamin B1) has been previously reported, and confirmed with specific bronchial provocation tests. Using a quantitative structure–activity relationship (QSAR) model linking chemical structure and their occupational asthma hazard developed by Jarvis, Agius and Seed, the thiamine molecule has been shown to have a high risk of being a chemical respiratory sensitiser. The chemical asthma hazard assessment programme based on the above model was used to study common vitamin compounds. The asthma hazard index of a chemical is expressed as a value 0–1, with 1 indicating definite asthmagenic potential. Vitamins A, D, B1, B2, B3, B5, biotin and folic acid molecules carry a high probability of causing respiratory sensitisation.

Both water-soluble and fat-soluble vitamins are used as additives in the food industry and their asthmagenic potential in the workplace needs to be recognised.

Full Text


The decision to label a case of asthma as being occupationally-induced remains a matter of clinical judgment. Identifying the specific cause of occupational asthma is often much more difficult than identifying an asthma-work relationship.

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