Occupational Asthmagens

In at least one out of every six asthmatics, their asthma is caused or made worse by workplace exposures. There are over 350 occupational asthmagens. The Association of Occupational and Environmental Clinics maintains an updated list of asthmagens located at: www.aoec.org/tools.htm.

These reference tables list common occupational asthma triggers and the occupations where they are often encountered. The first table is sorted by workers at risk. The second table is sorted by agents in the workplace.

For more information

Occupational Lung Disease Registry

REMINDER: Physians are required, by law, to report suspected cases of occupational lung disease to the New York State Department of Health. To file a report, call toll free: 1-866-807-2130

Workers at Risk Agents
Animal Handlers Animal urine, dander
Bakers Enzymes, flour/grain dust/mites
Carpenters Acrylate, amines, diisocyanates, epoxy resins, wood dusts
Cleaners/Janitors Cleaning materials, dusts, molds
Daycare providers Cleaning materials, dusts, latex (natural), molds
Electronic workers Amines, colophony, metals, soldering flux
Farmers Animal urine, dander, grain dusts, mites, insects
Hairdressers Henna, persulfate
Health care workers Formaldehyde, glutaraldehyde, latex, methyldopa, penicillins, psyllium
Laboratory workers Animal urine, dander, feathers, enzymes, formaldehyde,glutaraldehyde, insects, latex
Machinists/Tool setters Metal working fluids, oil mists
Office workers Cleaning materials, dusts, molds
Pharmaceutical workers Cephalosporins, pancreatin, papain, pepsin, psyllium
Photographers Complex amines
Plastic/Rubber workers Anhydrides, diisocyanates
Sawmill workers Wood dusts
Seafood processors Crabs, prawns
Teachers Cleaning materials, dusts, molds
Textile workers Dyes, gums
Welders Welding fumes
Agents Workers at Risk
Animal-Derived Substances
Egg protein Egg producers
Grain mites Farmers, grain handlers
Insects Laboratory workers
Laboratory animals Laboratory workers, animal handlers
Shellfish Seafood processors
Acrylates Adhesives handlers, nail salon workers
Amines Shellac and lacquer handlers, solderers, carpenters, photographers
Anhydrides Users of epoxy resins, plastic/rubber workers
Dyes Textile workers
Formaldehyde, glutaraldehyde Hospital staff
Isocyanates Spray painters, polyurethane foam insulation installers/ manufacturers, plastic manufacturers
Persulfate Hairdressers
Penicillins, psyllium, methyldopa, cimetidine Pharmaceutical industry, health care workers
Plant-Derived Substances
Biologic enzymes Detergent industry workers
Castor beans Farmers, millers, oil industry workers, dock workers
Flour and grain dusts Bakers, millers
Latex (natural rubber) Health care workers, day care providers, food service
Vegetable gums Carpet makers, pharmaceutical workers
Wood dusts Forest workers, carpenters, cabinet makers, sawmill workers
Metal, Fluxes
Cobalt Hard-metal grinders
Fluxes Electronics workers
Welding fumes Welders
Metal working fluids, oil mists Machinists, tool setters
Dusts, molds Teachers, cleaners, office workers, janitors
Cleaning materials Cleaners, janitors, daycare providers

Chan-Yeung M, Malo JL. Occupational Asthma. The New England Journal of Medicine 333: 107-112, 1995. 333: 107-112, 1995. Venables KM, Chan-Yeung M. Occupational Asthma. Lancet 349: 1465-1469, 1997.