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Work-related asthma among adults with current asthma in 33 states and DC: evidence from the asthma call-back survey, 2006-2007.

Knoeller GE; Mazurek JM; Moorman JE
Public Health Rep 2011 Jul-Aug; 126(4):603-611
Asthma is associated with a variety of physical, chemical, and biological stimuli including those found in the workplace. The term "work-related asthma" (WRA), representing a subset of all asthma, encompasses both occupational asthma (OA), which is asthma that is caused by workplace exposure to a sensitizing or irritant substance, and work-exacerbated asthma (WEA), which is asthma that is worsened by work-related factors. WRA is a preventable and underdiagnosed occupational lung disease associated with adverse social and economic outcomes, disability, and mortality. Workers who leave their jobs due to WRA often experience loss in income and/or unemployment. A French study followed workers with WRA for an average of 3.1 years after diagnosis. At follow-up, 44% had left their jobs, 25% were unemployed, and 46% had experienced loss in income. Among adults with asthma, those with WRA have a lower quality of life and more frequent emergency department and doctors' visits for worsening asthma. WRA caused by a number of workplace agents may also lead to death. An estimated 6.7% of adults aged greater than or equal to 18 years in the United States have current asthma. The American Thoracic Society has cited estimates that 4%-58% (median = 15%) of adults with asthma have WRA. Estimates of the proportion of adults with OA range from 10% to 15%, and estimates of WEA range from 14% to 58% (median = 21%). However, few such estimates have been published at the state level. The Adult Asthma Call-Back Survey (ACBS), part of the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), offers a unique opportunity to provide this information for a large number of states. To determine the proportion of asthma that is work-related, we analyzed data from the 2006 and 2007 ACBS for each participating state.
Behavior-patterns; Exposure-assessment; Immune-reaction; Immune-system-disorders; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Lung-disorders; Lung-irritants; Mortality-data; Mortality-rates; Pulmonary-system-disorders; Quantitative-analysis; Respiratory-hypersensitivity; Respiratory-irritants; Respiratory-system-disorders; Statistical-analysis; Work-environment; Worker-health; Workplace-studies; Surveillance
Gretchen E. Knoeller, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, DRDS, 1095 Willowdale Rd., MS H-2800, Morgantown, WV 26505
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Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division