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If an adult experiences new-onset asthma, it is recommended that occupational asthma be suspected. Symptoms include wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, cough, and sputum production -- similar to asthma that is not work-related. For some sensitizers and workers, symptoms may occur upon first exposures to the sensitizer; for others, symptoms may not appear until after a latency period. Latency could range from weeks to years after the first exposure.
- Causes of occupational asthma
- Using job hazard analysis to uncover risk factors
- Using the hierarchy of controls to reduce or eliminate the exposure
Nellie Brown, MS, CIH
Director of Workplace Health & Safety Programs