Objective: The authors examined the relations between self-reported work tasks, use of cleaning products and latex glove use with new-onset asthma among nurses and other healthcare workers in the European Community Respiratory Health Survey (ECRHS II). Methods: In a random population sample of adults from 22 European sites, 332 participants reported working in nursing and other related healthcare jobs during the nine-year ECRHS II follow-up period and responded to a supplemental questionnaire about their principal work settings, occupational tasks, products used at work and respiratory symptoms. Poisson regression models with robust error variances were used to compare the risk of new-onset asthma among healthcare workers with each exposure to that of respondents who reported professional or administrative occupations during the entire follow-up period (n = 2481). Results: Twenty (6%) healthcare workers and 131 (5%) members of the referent population reported newonset asthma. Compared to the referent group, the authors observed increased risks among hospital technicians (RR 4.63; 95% CI 1.87 to 11.5) and among those using ammonia and/or bleach at work (RR 2.16; 95% CI 1.03 to 4.53). Conclusions: In the ECRHS II cohort, hospital technicians and other healthcare workers experience increased risks of new-onset current asthma, possibly due to specific products used at work.
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