-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas
MONDAY, Jan. 21 (HealthDay News) -- The type of jobs people have
may increase their risk for developing asthma as an adult, a new
British study suggests.
Rebecca Ghosh, of Imperial College London, and her colleagues
found one in six cases of the condition was linked to the
workplace. They noted the development of adult asthma was clearly
associated with 18 different occupations, particularly cleaning
jobs where people are exposed to chemicals. Other job categories
linked to adult asthma were farming, hairdressing and printing.
The study involved 7,500 British adults born in 1958. The
researchers examined information on the participants' job histories
up to the age of 42. They also compiled information on their
symptoms of asthma or wheezy bronchitis at the ages of 7, 11, 16,
33 and 42. The study participants' sensitivity to allergens and
lung power was also assessed at the ages of 42 and 45.
Using the Asthma Specific Job Exposure Matrix, the researchers
then calculated the participants' exposure to compounds with a
known link to asthma, including respiratory irritants and high-risk
agents such as flour, enzymes, cleaning or disinfectant products,
metal and metal fumes, and textile production.
The study was published online Jan. 21 in the journal
Of the study's participants, 25 percent were smokers by the time
they were 42. At this age, 9 percent of the adults had asthma and
87 percent had jobs. More than half, or 55 percent, of those who
were employed had office jobs.
The researchers also pointed out that 25 percent of the
participants never held a job that increased their risk for asthma.
The study did reveal, however, that 8 percent had been exposed to
high-risk agents and 28 percent were exposed to low-risk agents.
Meanwhile, 34 percent were exposed to both high-risk and low-risk
After taking other factors into account, the investigators found
16 percent of adult-onset asthma cases among the participants could
be explained by their jobs. While the study found an association,
it did not prove that the nature of their occupations caused the
onset of asthma.
The study showed those exposed to low-risk agents were 20
percent more likely to develop asthma as an adult. The people
exposed to high-risk agents were 53 percent more likely to be
diagnosed with the respiratory condition. The participants exposed
to both types of agents had a 34 percent greater risk of developing
The findings suggest jobs involving cleaning or cleaning agents
showed the strongest link to adult asthma. Meanwhile, farming more
than quadrupled the risk for the condition, hairdressing doubled
the risk and printing work tripled the risk, the study authors
pointed out in a journal news release.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides
more information on the prevention of
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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