Occupational Exposure to Metals and Solvents: Allergy and Airway Diseases


Purpose of Review

Occupational allergic diseases (OAD) such as occupational contact dermatitis (OCD), occupational asthma (OA), and occupational rhinitis (OR) are the most prevalent occupational diseases in industrialized countries. The purpose of this review is to provide an update about the main occupational metal and solvent exposures related to allergy and airway diseases and to discuss newly defined causative agents and industries in this field.

Recent Findings

Currently for over 400 causative agents for OA and OCD, several hundreds of agents for OR have been identified. Although many studies have reported an overall decline in OAD related to known agents after implementation of efficient and effective workplace preventive measures, the constant development of new products continuously introduces to the market potential unknown respiratory hazards. Workplace allergens are often high molecular weight (HMW) agents that are > 10 kDa molecular weight and capable of eliciting IgE sensitization. Sensitizing low molecular weight (LMW) agents are often reactive chemicals. Metals and solvents are two large causative agent groups related to OADs that mainly behave as LMW (< 10 kDa) sensitizers and/or irritants.


Avoidance of causative exposures through control strategies is the primary prevention approach for OADs. These strategies must be applied and covered for all known and newly defined causative agents. This review aims to summarize current status of known occupational metal and solvent exposures related to allergy and airway diseases and to discuss newly defined causative agents and industries in this field.

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Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Kurt, O.K., Basaran, N. Occupational Exposure to Metals and Solvents: Allergy and Airway Diseases. Curr Allergy Asthma Rep 20, 38 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11882-020-00931-7

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  • Occupational allergic diseases
  • Occupational contact dermatitis
  • Occupational asthma
  • Occupational rhinitis
  • Metals
  • Solvents