Rassegna bibliografica

Vol. 87, Iss. 4, May 2014

Allergens causing occupational asthma: an evidence-based evaluation of the literature


Purpose The aim of this work is to provide an evidence-based evaluation and overview of causative substances in order to improve disease management.

Methods We conducted a database search with MEDLINE via PubMed, screened reference lists of relevant reviews and matched our findings with a list of agents denoted as “may cause sensitisation by inhalation” by the phrase H334 (till 2011 R42). After exclusion of inappropriate publications, quality of the selected studies was rated with the Scottish Intercollegiate Guideline Network (SIGN) grading system. The evidence level for each causative agent was graded using the modified Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) three-star system.

Results A total of 865 relevant papers were identified, which covered 372 different causes of allergic work-related asthma. The highest level achieved using the SIGN grading system was 2++ indicating a high-quality study with a very low risk of confounding or bias and a high probability of a causal relationship. According to the modified RCGP three-star grading system, the strongest evidence of association with an individual agent, profession or worksite (“***”) was found to be the co-exposure to various laboratory animals. An association with moderate evidence level (“**”) was obtained for α-amylase from Aspergillus oryzae, various enzymes from Bacillus subtilis, papain, bakery (flour, amylase, storage mites), western red cedar, latex, psyllium, farming (animals, cereal, hay, straw and storage mites), storage mites, rat, carmine, egg proteins, atlantic salmon, fishmeal, norway lobster, prawn, snow crab, seafood, trout and turbot, reactive dyes, toluene diisocyanates and platinum salts.

Conclusion This work comprises the largest list of occupational agents and worksites causing allergic asthma. For the first time, these agents are assessed in an evidence-based manner. The identified respiratory allergic agents or worksites with at least moderate evidence for causing work-related asthma may help primary care physicians and occupational physicians in diagnostics and management of cases suffering from work-related asthma. Furthermore, this work may possibly provide a major contribution to prevention and may also initiate more detailed investigations for broadening and updating these evidence-based evaluations.


Il presente studio, di Xaver e Prudence, rappresenta, nella letteratura scientifica, uno dei primi approcci “evidence-based” volto a correlare l’asma professionale con i suoi fattori causali.

Nella realizzazione della loro ricerca, gli autori hanno analizzato 865 pubblicazioni di letteratura sul tema, identificando 372 diverse cause di natura professionale e riassumendo tutti gli attuali fattori di evidenza scientifica, per singoli agenti, in grado di provocare asma allergico in lavoratori esposti.

La lista completa degli agenti identificati nello studio rappresenta un interessante documento di consultazione per i programmi di sorveglianza sanitaria, al fine di applicare adeguate misure di prevenzione nei confronti dell’asma professionale.


Allergens, Allergology, Diagnostics, Evidence-based grading, occupational asthma

Articoli correlati che potrebbero interessarti

Magnetic fields and leukaemia risks in UK electricity supply workers

Occupational Medicine (Oxford Journals). Vol. 64, Iss. 5, July 2014

Cleaning and asthma characteristics in women

American Journal of Industrial Medicine. Vol. 57, Iss. 3, March 2014

Occupational Asthma guidelines: a systematic quality appraisal using the AGREE II instrument

Vol. 71, Iss. 2, February 2014