Effect of respiratory protective devices on development of antibody and occupational asthma to an acid anhydride

Chest. 2002 Apr;121(4):1317-22. doi: 10.1378/chest.121.4.1317.


Study objectives: To determine whether the use of respiratory protective equipment would reduce the incidence of occupational asthma due to exposure to hexahydrophthalic anhydride (HHPA).

Design: Prospective cohort study.

Setting: A facility that makes an epoxy resin product requiring HHPA for its manufacture.

Participants: Sixty-six individuals newly hired at a facility that makes an epoxy resin product requiring HHPA for its manufacture.

Intervention: Employees who wished to use respiratory protective equipment could choose from three types of masks: dust mask, half-face organic vapor respirator, or full-face organic vapor respirator.

Measurements: Workers were evaluated annually for development of positive antibody to HHPA and occupational, immunologic respiratory disease, including occupational asthma.

Results: With use of respiratory protective equipment, the rate of developing an occupational immunologic respiratory disease was reduced from approximately 10 to 2% per year. Occupational asthma developed in only three individuals, and they were all in the higher exposure category. Statistically, one respirator was not superior to the others.

Conclusion: Respiratory protective equipment can reduce the incidence of occupational immunologic respiratory disease, including occupational asthma, in employees exposed to HHPA.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Air Pollutants, Occupational / adverse effects
  • Air Pollutants, Occupational / immunology*
  • Antibody Formation / immunology*
  • Asthma / immunology*
  • Asthma / prevention & control
  • Bronchoconstrictor Agents / adverse effects
  • Bronchoconstrictor Agents / immunology*
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Epoxy Resins / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin E / blood
  • Immunoglobulin G / blood
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Diseases / immunology*
  • Occupational Diseases / prevention & control
  • Phthalic Anhydrides / adverse effects
  • Phthalic Anhydrides / immunology*
  • Respiratory Protective Devices*
  • Risk Factors


  • Air Pollutants, Occupational
  • Bronchoconstrictor Agents
  • Epoxy Resins
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Phthalic Anhydrides
  • araldite
  • Immunoglobulin E