Occupational asthma; the limited role of air-fed respiratory protective equipment.

Ilgaz, Aslihan, Moore, Vicky C, Robertson, Alastair S, Walters, Gareth I and Burge, P Sherwood (2019) Occupational asthma; the limited role of air-fed respiratory protective equipment. Occupational medicine (Oxford, England). ISSN 1471-8405.

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Official URL: https://academic.oup.com/occmed/advance-article-ab...



Evidence-based reviews have found that evidence for the efficacy of respiratory protective equipment (RPE) in the management of occupational asthma (OA) is lacking.


To quantify the effectiveness of air-fed RPE in workers with sensitizer-induced OA exposed to metal-working fluid aerosols in a car engine and transmission manufacturing facility.


All workers from an outbreak of metal-working fluid-induced OA who had continuing peak expiratory flow (PEF) evidence of sensitizer-induced OA after steam cleaning and replacement of all metal-working fluid were included. Workers kept 2-hourly PEF measurements at home and work, before and after a strictly enforced programme of RPE with air-fed respirators with charcoal filters. The area-between-curve (ABC) score from the Oasys plotter was used to assess the effectiveness of the RPE.


Twenty workers met the inclusion criteria. Records were kept for a mean of 24.6 day shifts and rest days before and 24.7 after the institution of RPE. The ABC score improved from 26.6 (SD 16.2) to 17.7 (SD 25.4) l/min/h (P > 0.05) post-RPE; however, work-related decline was <15 l/min/h in only 12 of 20 workers, despite increased asthma treatment in 5 workers.


Serial PEF measurements assessed with the ABC score from the Oasys system allowed quantification of the effect of RPE in sensitized workers. The RPE reduced falls in PEF associated with work exposure, but this was rarely complete. This study suggests that RPE use cannot be relied on to replace source control in workers with OA, and that monitoring post-RPE introduction is needed.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: W Public health. Health statistics. Occupational health. Health education
WF Respiratory system. Respiratory medicine
Divisions: Planned IP Care > Respiratory Medicine
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Depositing User: Mrs Yolande Brookes
Date Deposited: 05 Jul 2019 12:05
Last Modified: 05 Jul 2019 12:05
URI: http://www.repository.uhblibrary.co.uk/id/eprint/2205

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