Physician reports of work-related asthma in California, 1993-1996.
Reinisch-F; Harrison-RJ; Cussler-S; Athanasoulis-M; Balmes-J; Blanc-P; Cone-J
Am J Ind Med 2001 Jan; 39(1):72-83
Background: Work-related asthma is a leading cause of occupational respiratory illness. Methods: Work-related asthma was studied in California over a 36-month period, from March 1, 1993 to February 29, 1996. The surveillance system identified cases from Doctor's First Reports (DFRs), a mandated physician reporting system. Structured follow-up telephone interviews of DFR asthma cases were conducted to collect work history, exposure, and medical information. Statewide employment data was used to calculate disease rates among industry groups. Results: Based on 945 cases of work-related asthma, the average annual reporting rate for work-related asthma in California was 25/million workers. We estimate that the actual rate is 78/million, adjusted for likely underreporting. Janitors and cleaners (625/million) and firefighters (300/million) had the highest reporting rates of work-related asthma. Half of all work-related asthma cases were associated with agents not known to be allergens. Conclusions: A greater proportion of work-related asthma associated with irritant exposures was identified than has previously been reported. The surveillance data provide a very conservative estimate of the incidence of work-related asthma.
Pulmonary-system-disorders; Respiratory-system-disorders; Bronchial-asthma; Epidemiology; Statistical-analysis; Demographic-characteristics; Surveillance-programs
Florence Reinisch, California Department of Health Services, Occupational Health Branch, 1515 Clay Street, Suite 1901, Oakland, CA 94612
American Journal of Industrial Medicine
California Department of Health Services-Occupational Health Branch