Occupational contact allergens: are they also associated with occupational asthma?

Am J Ind Med. 2012 Apr;55(4):353-60. doi: 10.1002/ajim.22015. Epub 2012 Jan 11.


Background: Workplace exposures that can potentially cause both allergic occupational contact dermatitis (AOCD) and occupational asthma (OA) are not clearly identified.

Methods: Occupational contact allergens (OCAs) were identified using North American Contact Dermatitis Group (NACDG) data. Reference documents and systematic reviews were used to determine whether each OCA had been reported to potentially cause OA. The presence or absence of a sensitizer notation in occupational hygiene reference documents was also examined.

Results: The 10 most common OCAs were: epoxy resin*, thiuram, carba mix, nickel sulfate*, cobalt chloride*, potassium dichromate*, glyceryl thioglycolate, p-phenylenediamine*, formaldehyde* and glutaraldehyde*. Seven (indicated by *) were determined to be possible causes of OA. Information on sensitizing potential from OH reference materials contained conflicting information.

Conclusions: Several common OCAs can also potentially cause OA. Inhalation and dermal exposures to these agents should be controlled and both OA and AOCD should be considered as possible health outcomes. Increased consistency in sensitizer notations is needed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Allergens
  • Asthma, Occupational / epidemiology*
  • Dermatitis, Allergic Contact / epidemiology*
  • Dermatitis, Occupational / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects
  • Occupational Exposure / statistics & numerical data*
  • Patch Tests


  • Allergens