Spanish based researchers lead an international study being published by the British medical journal The Lancet
(ag/ehj) – The incidence of labor-related asthma in the European population is higher than previously believed, a conclusion of a macro study coordinated by the Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology (CREAL) and the Institut Municipal d’Investigació Mèdica (IMIM) of Barcelona.
A study conducted by researchers from 13 different countries, coordinated by Dr. Manolis Kogevinas and Dr. Josep Maria Antó, based on surveys taken from nearly 7,000 volunteers and various medical tests, indicates that exposure to toxic and irritant agents in the workplace explains between 10 and 25% of the new asthma cases in the adult population. This implies that a minimum of 250 per one million inhabitants suffer the symptoms of this illness due to their jobs.
The professional groups most affected are nurses, cleaning personnel, and laborers in various industrial environments. These professionals may develop the illness as a result of continuous exposure to agents such as latex dust, cleaning products, and chemical reactives such as isocyanates, commonly found in paints.
For these reasons, the authors of the study call for improving the working conditions of the most affected groups and for adapting control and prevention measures according to the new findings.
CREAL was created in 2005 as a collective initiative from the Institut Municipal d’Investigació Mèdica (IMIM), the Generalitat of Catalonia, and the Universitat Pompeu Fabra, and is located at the Barcelona Biomedical Research Park (PRBB).
Exposure to substances in the workplace and new-onset asthma: an international prospective population-based study (ECRHS-II). Lancet, July 28, 2007; 370: 336-41.