Cleaning and asthma characteristics in women

Am J Ind Med. 2014 Mar;57(3):303-11. doi: 10.1002/ajim.22244. Epub 2013 Aug 19.


Background: We aimed to assess the associations between occupational exposure to cleaning products, a gender-related exposure, and asthma characteristics, considering clinical, immunological and inflammatory aspects.

Methods: Analyses were conducted in 391 women (73 with adult-onset asthma) from the follow-up of the Epidemiological Study on the Genetics and Environment of Asthma (EGEA). Occupational exposure to cleaning/disinfecting products was estimated using the asthma-specific job-exposure-matrix (44 women exposed).

Results: Occupational exposures were associated with more symptomatic asthma (odds ratio (95% CI): 2.8(1.2-6.4)) and severe asthma (5.1(1.7-15.3)). An association was suggested for poorly controlled asthma (2.2(0.9-5.5)). Associations were observed for asthma without positive skin prick test (3.0(1.1-8.3)), with a low IgE level (2.8(1.2-6.2)), and with a low eosinophil count (3.2(1.5-7.1)).

Conclusions: Results strengthen the evidence of a deleterious role of cleaning products in asthma and are consistent with the hypothesis of non-allergic mechanisms in relation to workplace cleaning exposures.

Keywords: asthma characteristics; cleaning product; occupational asthma; occupational exposure; work-related asthma.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Asthma / chemically induced
  • Asthma / physiopathology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Detergents*
  • Disinfectants*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects
  • Occupational Exposure / statistics & numerical data*
  • Odds Ratio
  • Risk Factors
  • Severity of Illness Index


  • Detergents
  • Disinfectants