Tuesday, 17 November 2015

SPHPM devise list of 277 asthmagens in the workplace to help address the public health issue of asthma in the workplace

SPHPM’s Associate Professor Deborah Glass, Professor Michael Abramson and Dr Geza Benke have co-authored a publication with researchers from Curtin University, the University of Sydney and the University of Western Australia, developing a list of asthmagens that can exist in workplaces across Australia.

According to research, 1000 to 3000 new cases of asthma in Australia per annum could be explained by exposure in the workplace. Current estimates of adult onset asthma that could be the result of workplace exposure vary from 9 per cent to 17 per cent within Australia.

In order to better address the issue of occupational asthma, the various causes need to be identified and understood. While confirmed asthmagens have been associated with occupational asthma, a peer reviewed or international list has yet to be published. The authors state that there is no current document which notes the number of confirmed or suspected asthmagens identified in Australia.

The intent of this paper was to form an exhaustive list of the number of occupational asthmagens found in workplaces to inform data and knowledge that could then be utilised for policy, guidelines and best practice in workplaces where occupational asthma is prevalent. The list was also tailored to asthmagens that are pertinent to working conditions specific to Australia.

The authors identified possible asthmagens through the use of work health and safety classification databases as well as lists obtained from various associations globally. Inclusion criteria comprised evidence that the agent was indeed asthmagenic and considered various workplace settings. The results yielded 277 asthmagens across 27 different categories in various occupational settings, including acids, metals, mites, dyes, foods, and flowers.

This asthmagen list is the first to provide a thorough document of relevant agents to Australian workplaces. The list has potential to assist policymakers in developing future practices to minimise the harm of such agents and reduce the rates of occupational asthma.

The article is available here.

Twenty-seven groups of 277 occupational asthmagens

Agent Group
1. Arthropods or Mites
Acarian, Barn mite, Caddis flies, Cricket, Ephestia kuehniella (Mediterranean flour moth), Fowl mite, Fruit fly, Grain/Flour mites, Lesser mealworm, Locust, Mites NOS, Sheep blowfly, Silkworm
2. Acids
Dodecanedioic acid, Glacial acetic acid, Hydrochloric acid, Peroxyacetic acid, Sulfuric acid/sulphor dioxide
3. Acrylates
Acrylic acid, Cyanoacrylates, NOS (glues), Methyl methacrylate, Polymethyl methacrylate (plexiglass), Trimethylolpropane triacrylate/2-Hydroxypropyl Acrylate
4. Aldehydes
Formaldehyde, Gluteraldehyde, Paraformaldehyde, Urea formaldehyde
5. Amines
Aminoethyl ethanolamine, Diethanolamine, Dimethylethanolamine, Ethanolamines, NOS, Ethylenediamine, Monoethanolamine, Surfactant-specific amines, Triethanolamine, Triethylenetetramine, Trimethylhexane-1,6-diamine/Isophorondiamine mixture.
6. Ammonia
Anhydrous ammonia, Ammonium hydroxide, Ammonia solution 10% and 29%
7. Anhydrides
Hexahydrophthalic anhydride, Himic anhydride, Maleic anhydride, Methyl tetrahydrophthalic anhydride, Phthalic anhydride, Tetrachlorophthalic anhydride, Trimellitic anhydride
8. Bio aerosols
Alternaria, Chrysonilia sitophilia, Neurospora, Penicillium, Cutting oils
9. Biological enzymes
Bacillus subtilis enzymes, Bromelain, Egg lysozyme, Esperase, Flaviastase, Fungal amylase, Fungal amyloglucosidase, Fungal hemicellulose, Pancreatin, Papain, Pepsin, Trypsin
10. Derived from animals
Bat guano, Bovine serum albumin, Casein, Cat, Chicken, Cow dander, Frog, Guinea Pig antigens, Lactoserum, Mice, Pig, Rabbit antigens, Rat antigens
11. Derived from fish/shellfish
Anisakis simplex (herring worm), Clam, Crab, Cuttlefish, Fish feed, Nacre dust, Octopus, Prawn, Red soft coral, Salmon, Shrimp meal, Trout
12. Derived from plants – other
Almond dust, Arabidopsis thaliana, Chlorella algae, Grain dust, Gum Arabic, Henna, Kapok, Linseed oilcake, Pinellia ternate, Quillaja bark, rice dust, Tall oil crude, Tall oil – Rosin, Tobacco leaf, Tragacanth, Turpentine, Vicia sativa (vetch), Weeping fig.
13. Epoxy
Adhesive, Epoxy
14. Ethylene oxide
Ethylene oxide
15. Flour
Buckwheat, Flour NOS, Rye flour, Soya flour, Wheat flour
16. Flowers
Baby’s breath, Freesia, Limonium tataricum, Sunflower
17. Foods
Brazil ginseng, Castor bean, Chamomile, Cinnamon, Dioscorea batatas (Chinese yam), Egg protein, Fenugreek, Garlic dust, Green beans, Guar, Hops, Paprika, Pectin, Rose hips, Soybean lecithin, Tea, Thiamine (vitamin B), Thyme
18. Industrial cleaning and sterilising agents
Alkyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride, Benzyl-C10-16-alkyldimethyl, chlorides, Benzyl-C12- 16-alkyldimethyl, chlorides, Benzyl-C12-18-alkyldimethyl, chlorides, Benzyl-C16-18-alkyldimethyl, chlorides, Benzyldimethylstearyl ammonium chloride, BTC 776, BTC 927, Cetalkonium chloride, Chlorhexidine, Chlorine, Dialkyl methyl benzyl ammonium chloride, Dicumyl-peroxide, Didecyl dimethyl ammonium chloride, Dimethyl ethyl benzyl ammonium chloride, Dodecyl-dimethylbenzylammonium, Fluorine, Persulphate salts, Quarternary ammonium compounds NOS, Sodium hypochlorite, Sodium metabisulfite
19. Isocyanates
Diisocyanates, NOS, HDI Prepolymers, Hexamethylene diisocyanate HDI, Isophorone diisocyanate, Methylene bisphenyl diisocyanate, Naphthalene diisocyanate NDI, Polymethylene polyphenylisocyanate, TDI Prepolymers, Toluene diisocyanate
20. Latex
Latex, natural rubber
21. Medications
Ampicillin, Amprolium, Cimetidine, Codeine, Colistin, Hydralazine, Ipecacuanha , Hydrocodone, Isonicotinic acid hydrazide, Methyldopa, Morphine, Opiate compounds, Oxycodone, Papaverine, Penicillamine, Penicillins, Phenylglycine acid chloride, Psyllium, Salbutamol intermediate, Spiramycin, Tetracycline, Thebaine, Tylosin tartrate, Vancomycin
22. Metals
Aluminium, Aluminium chloride, Aluminium oxide, Aluminium compounds, Ammonium dichromate or hexachloroplatinate (IV), Chromium NOS, metal, hexavalent and, non-hexavalent, Cobalt, Cobalt compounds, Gas metal arc welding on uncoated mild steel, Nickel, Nickel compounds, Platinum, Rhodium, Soluble halogenated platinum compounds NOS, Titanium oxide/dioxide, Tributyl tin oxide, Tungsten carbide, Tungsten carbide/cobalt, Vanadium, Welding fume, stainless steel, Zinc oxide
23. Other reactive chemicals
Fluoride, Freon heated, Furfuryl alcohol mixed with a catalyst, Isolyzer, Polyethylene terephthalate/ Polybutylene terephthal, Polyfunctional Aziridine (PFA), Polypropylene heated, Polyvinyl chloride heated or non-heated or thermal decomposition, Radiographic fixative, Resin containing furfuryl alcohol, Styrene, Trigylicidyl isocyanurate
24. Pesticides
3-Amino-5-mercapto-1,2,4-triazole, Acephate, Chloramine T, Chlorothalonil (Bravo, Echo), Diazinon, Dimethoate, Fenthion, Malathion, Nemacur, Piperazine, Piperazine citrate, Piperazine hydrochloride, Pyrethrins, Pyrfon, Safrotin, Tetramethrin
25. Reactive dyes
Cibachrome Brilliant Scarlet 32, Drimarene Brilliant Blue K-BL, Drimarene Brilliant Yellow K-3GL, Lanasol Yellow 4G, Levafix Brilliant Yellow E36, Methyl Blue, Reactive Dyes, NOS, Rifacion Orange HE 2G, Rifafix Yellow 3 RN, Rifazol Black GR, Rifazol Brilliant Orange 3R
26. Soldering fluxes
Colophony, soldering flux (heated) Alkyl aryl polyether or Zinc
27. Wood dusts
African Maple (Triplochiton scleroxylon), Blackwood (Acacia melanoxylon), California Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens), Central American Walnut (Juglans olanchana), Eastern White Cedar (Thuja occidentalis), Mahogany (Shoreal sp.), Oak (Quercus robur), Western Red Cedar (Thuja lpicata).

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