Researchers have developed an Australian specific list of chemicals and dusts that can contribute to adult on-set asthma in the workplace.
Project leader Professor Lin Fritschi from Curtin’s School of Public Health said between 1,000 and 3,000 new cases of asthma in Australia annually could be attributed to workplace exposures.
“To be able to implement policy and preventative practices to reduce the burden of occupational asthma, we developed the first comprehensive and inclusive list of Australian occupationally relevant asthmagens.”
The research identified 277 chemicals and dusts specific to Australian workplaces including latex gloves, animals, flour, cleaning and sterilising agents, metals, pesticides, dyes and foods.
“Carpenters, panel beaters, welders, laboratory workers and farmers are amongst the occupations likely to be exposed to these chemicals and dusts,” Professor Fritschi said.
The list could form the foundation of future studies as well as help describe and understand the extent of exposure to occupational asthmagens in Australia, the researchers concluded in the paper published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health.
“In particular, to identify those occupations where the greatest number of workers are at risk of exposure and also where exposure to asthmagens is most likely to occur,” they said.