The history of research on asthma in the workplace — Development, victories and perspectives

  • Jean-Luc Malo
  • Anthony Newman-Taylor
Part of the Progress in Inflammation Research book series (PIR)


Here we review the historical landmarks of occupational asthma (OA). Although there has been suspicion for long that proteins can cause allergic sensitisation and OA, it is only in the last century that evidence that chemicals can cause OA has been published. Acute irritation of the bronchi has also been incriminated in the genesis of OA. Although an IgE-mediated process has been clearly identified in OA caused by proteinaceous material, the mechanism of OA remains unknown for chemicals. Population-based studies, examination of population data bank, sentinel-based studies and prospective interventions in high-risk workplaces have greatly improved our estimates of the frequency of the condition and helped to identify risk factors. Although diagnostic means are more diversified, they are still not used sufficiently. However, characterisation of the occupational environment has become more accurate, and scales for assessing impairment/disability are now available. Estimates of the proportion of asthma cases that can be ascertained as OA are now proposed. In a more general way, OA has been proposed as a model of the onset and persistence of asthma in humans.


Allergy Clin Immunol Castor Bean Occupational Asthma Occupational Rhinitis Eosinophilic Bronchitis 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser / Springer Basel 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jean-Luc Malo
    • 1
    • 3
  • Anthony Newman-Taylor
    • 2
  1. 1.The Department of Chest MedicineHôpital du Sacré-Coeur de MontréalMontréalCanada
  2. 2.Faculty of MedicineImperial CollegeLondonUK
  3. 3.Axe de recherche en santé respiratoireHôpital du Sacré-Coeur de MontréalMontrealCanada

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