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Occupational risk factors for asthma among nurses and related healthcare professionals in an international study

Journal article
Authors M. C. Mirabelli
J. P. Zock
E. Plana
J. M. Anto
G. Benke
Paul D. Blanc
Anna Dahlman-Höglund
D. L. Jarvis
H. Kromhout
Linnea Lillienberg
D. Norbäck
M. Olivieri
K. Radon
Jordi Sunyer
Kjell Torén
M. Van Sprundel
S. Villani
M. Kogevinas
Published in Occup Environ Med
Volume 64
Issue 7
Pages 474-9
ISSN 1470-7926 (Electronic)
Publication year 2007
Published at Institute of Medicine, School of Public Health and Community Medicine
Institute of Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine
Pages 474-9
Language en
Subject categories Respiratory Medicine and Allergy


OBJECTIVE: The authors examined the relations between self-reported work tasks, use of cleaning products and latex glove use with new-onset asthma among nurses and other healthcare workers in the European Community Respiratory Health Survey (ECRHS II). METHODS: In a random population sample of adults from 22 European sites, 332 participants reported working in nursing and other related healthcare jobs during the nine-year ECRHS II follow-up period and responded to a supplemental questionnaire about their principal work settings, occupational tasks, products used at work and respiratory symptoms. Poisson regression models with robust error variances were used to compare the risk of new-onset asthma among healthcare workers with each exposure to that of respondents who reported professional or administrative occupations during the entire follow-up period (n = 2481). RESULTS: Twenty (6%) healthcare workers and 131 (5%) members of the referent population reported new-onset asthma. Compared to the referent group, the authors observed increased risks among hospital technicians (RR 4.63; 95% CI 1.87 to 11.5) and among those using ammonia and/or bleach at work (RR 2.16; 95% CI 1.03 to 4.53). CONCLUSIONS: In the ECRHS II cohort, hospital technicians and other healthcare workers experience increased risks of new-onset current asthma, possibly due to specific products used at work.

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