Work-related asthma in the educational services industry: California, Massachusetts, Michigan, and New Jersey, 1993-2000

Am J Ind Med. 2008 Jan;51(1):47-59. doi: 10.1002/ajim.20539.


Objectives: To characterize work-related asthma (WRA) cases working in the educational services industry identified by state-based occupational disease surveillance systems.

Methods: We examined 2,995 WRA cases reported from 1993 to 2000 to four states: California, Massachusetts, Michigan, and New Jersey.

Results: A total of 265 (9%) WRA cases were employed in the educational services industry; 69% of cases were classified as new-onset asthma and 31% as work-aggravated asthma. New-onset asthma cases were further classified as occupational asthma (61%) or as reactive airways dysfunction syndrome (8%). The most frequently reported occupation was teachers and teachers' aides (54%). The most frequently reported agents were indoor air pollutants (28%), unspecified mold (16%), dusts (14%), and cleaning products (7%).

Conclusions: Asthma within the educational services industry is an occupational health problem. The health of school employees should also be considered when initiatives addressing asthma among schoolchildren are instituted. The identification, elimination, and/or control of respiratory hazards are important factors for the protection of staff and students alike.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Air Pollutants, Occupational / adverse effects*
  • Asthma / epidemiology*
  • Child
  • Faculty / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Prevalence
  • Schools / statistics & numerical data
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Workplace


  • Air Pollutants, Occupational