Asthmatic? Time to skip office!

May 12th, 2008 - 2:42 pm ICT by admin  

Sydney, May 12 (IANS) Ever heard of “occupational asthma”? That’s asthma caused by exposure to allergens present in the average office - and a new study says it’s on the rise. Exposure to wood dust, paint fumes, solvents, latex and baking flour - all workplace allergens - cause thousands of cases of asthma every year, according to a report released Monday by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

These are but a few of the between 300 and 400 potential agents of occupational asthma present in workplaces. Others include isocyanates (the raw materials used in polyurethane products), coffee bean dust, formaldehyde and solder flux.

The study shows that anywhere from 9 to 15 percent of adult-onset asthma cases can be attributed to exposure to agents at the workplace, ScienceAlert reported Monday.

“As many as 3,000 new cases of occupational asthma occur each year in Australia,” said Kuldeep Bhatia of AIHW.

Occupations with the greatest risk for occupational asthma include farming, painting, cleaning, baking, animal handling and chemical work.

Other at-risk occupations include nursing, welding, food processing, dentistry, timber and forestry industries, and industries that produce metals, plastics, electronics, rubber and textiles.

Although not curable, occupational asthma is largely preventable through actions that avoid or reduce exposure to workplace allergens.

“Unfortunately, people with occupational asthma often have to change jobs or careers to relieve their symptoms, hence work disruption and economic hardship can result,” Bhatia said.

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