Do chronic workplace irritant exposures cause asthma?

Abstract : The present review summarizes the recent literature on the relation between chronic workplace irritant exposures and asthma, focusing on exposures of low to moderate levels. We discuss results from epidemiological surveys, potential biological mechanisms, and needs for further research. These aspects are largely illustrated by studies on exposure to cleaning products. Recent results from nine population-based and workplace-based epidemiological studies, mostly cross-sectional, found an increased risk of both new-onset and work-exacerbated asthma among participants exposed to moderate level of irritants and/or cleaning products. Evidence of a causal effect of chronic workplace irritant exposure in new-onset asthma remains limited, mainly because of a lack of longitudinal studies and the difficulty to evaluate irritant exposures. However, recent epidemiological studies strengthen the evidence of an effect of chronic exposure to irritants in work-related asthma. The underlying mechanism remains unknown but may be related to oxidative stress, neurogenic inflammation and dual irritant and adjuvant effects. However, disentangling chronic irritant effects from either acute irritant-induced asthma or immunological low molecular weight agent-induced asthma is difficult for some agents. Further research is needed to improve assessment of irritant exposures and identify biomarkers.
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Current Opinion in Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins, 2016, 16 (2), pp.75-85. 〈10.1097/ACI.0000000000000247〉
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Orianne Dumas, Nicole Le Moual. Do chronic workplace irritant exposures cause asthma?. Current Opinion in Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins, 2016, 16 (2), pp.75-85. 〈10.1097/ACI.0000000000000247〉. 〈inserm-01331845〉

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