Prevention of Work-related Asthma: Study Search

Prevention LevelPrimary
AuthorJuniper
Study Year1977
CountryUK
Molecular Weight of AgentHMW
Agent CategoryBiological enzyme
Specific AgentBacillus subtilis derived detergent enzyme
Occupation Detergent industry workers (Includes cohort reported by Flindt, 1969)
Outcome/DiagnosisEnzyme sensitization, respiratory health effects
Activity Intervention Encapsulation of enzyme (use of slurry), stricter dust control, improved exhaust ventilation, enclosure of plant, personal protective clothing (1968) Soap and Detergent Industry Association (SDIA) guidelines on dust monitoring and medical surveillance, and pre-employment screening using atopy and poor pulmonary function (1969) Medical surveillance included medical history, spirometry, skin testing, chest x-rays, and sick absences. After initial examination, follow-ups took place every six months thereafter. Dust monitoring took place on a monthly basis.
Participation RateA survey of 1642 workers from 1968 to 1975 Limitation: no report of participation rate
Intervention EffectivenessTotal dust and enzyme concentrations exceeded 1200 mg*m3 in 1969-1970, but rarely exceeded 400 mg*m3 after 1972. The number of employees removed from the enzyme department due to enzyme-induced respiratory health effects decreased from 22 in 1969 to 1 in 1974. Since practice of preemployment screening, the percentage of skin prick-test postives among non-atopics in the high exposure group steadily fell from 1969-1971 (20 of 69 subjects testing positive) to 1974-1975 (3 of 73 subjects testing positive). Of all employees working throughout 1968 to 1975, 82% (1354 out of 1642 tested) have remained skin prick test negative.
Page last reviewed: February 20, 2020