You're at increased risk of developing occupational asthma if:

  • You have existing allergies or asthma. Although this can increase your risk, many people who have allergies or asthma do jobs that expose them to lung irritants and never have symptoms.
  • Allergies or asthma runs in your family. Your parents may pass down a genetic predisposition to asthma.
  • You work around known asthma triggers. Some substances are known to be lung irritants and asthma triggers.
  • You smoke. Smoking increases your risk of developing asthma.

High-risk occupations

It's possible to develop occupational asthma in almost any workplace. But your risk is higher if you work in certain occupations. Here are some of the riskiest jobs and the asthma-producing substances associated with them:

Jobs Asthma-producing substances
Adhesive handlers Chemicals such as acrylate
Animal handlers, veterinarians Animal proteins
Bakers, millers Cereal grains
Carpet makers Gums
Metal workers Cobalt, nickel
Forest workers, carpenters, cabinetmakers Wood dust
Hairdressers Chemicals such as persulfate
Health care workers Latex and chemicals such as glutaraldehyde
Pharmaceutical workers Drugs, enzymes
Seafood processors Seafood
Shellac handlers Chemicals such as amines
Spray painters, insulation installers, plastics and foam industry workers Chemicals such as diisocyanates
Textile workers Dyes
Users of plastics, epoxy resins Chemicals such as anhydrides
June 12, 2014