Background: Occupational asthma (OA) is a respiratory disorder characterized by airway hyperreactivity caused by agents present in the workplace. For determination of the prevalence of OA among car and furniture painters exposed to isocyanate in the center of Eskisehir, Turkey, a clinical and epidemiologic prospective study in three phases was done, incorporating 312 (89.4%) of the painters.
Methods: Of these subjects, 190 (61%) were furniture painters and 122 (39%) automobile painters. In the first phase of the study, a modified questionnaire and pulmonary function test (PFT) were done. During the second phase, peak expiratory flow rate (PEFR) was monitored in 52 subjects whose complaints were confirmed and who agreed to a month of such monitoring. In the third phase, nonspecific bronchial provocation tests (NSBPT) with histamine were done on 23 of the PEFR-monitored workers.
Results: Finally, through questionnaire, typical history, PFT, PEFR monitoring, and NSBPT, 30 workers (9.6%) were diagnosed as having OA. Smoking habits and atopy in the OA-diagnosed workers were found to be statistically significantly high in comparison to the other workers.
Conclusions: It was concluded that OA is a common disorder among automobile and furniture painters, and smoking habits and atopy were seen to have a significant effect on OA occurrence.