Men exposed to epoxy, diisocyanates and acrylates — found in glues, varnishes and insulation foams — had an increased risk of new-onset asthma, according to the results of a European population-based study, which looked at the relationship between occupational exposure and new-onset cases of the disease.
For the study, investigators analyzed asthma cases among 13,000 randomly selected adults in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Iceland and Estonia from 1980 to 2000. According to the study, 429 people had new-onset asthma during this period. Of the cases among women, 7% were linked to workplace exposure; among men, the number was as high as 14%. The study found that total incidence of new-onset asthma was 24 cases per 1,000 men and 44 cases per 1,000 women.
The high-risk occupations, according to study results, include spray painters, plumbers, cleaners, health care and social services personnel, food and tobacco industry workers, and hairdressers.
Researchers also found that some people are more susceptible than others.
“People with hay fever (atopic) are at higher risk of occupational asthma if they’re exposed to proteins from plants and animals,” according to researcher Linnea Lillienberg. “But if we look at individuals with no increased susceptibility (nonatopic), the risk was higher among those compared to atopics if exposed to epoxy and diisocyanates. Among nonatopic women , the risk was particularly elevated among those who handled detergents.”