Parental occupational exposure pre- and post-conception and development of asthma in offspring


Background: While direct effects of occupational exposures on an individual’s respiratory health are evident, a new paradigm is emerging on the possible effects of pre-conception occupational exposure on respiratory health in offspring. We aimed to study the association between parental occupational exposure starting before conception and asthma in their offspring (at 0-15 years of age).

Methods: We studied 3985 offspring participating in the Respiratory Health in Northern Europe, Spain and Australia (RHINESSA) generation study. Their mothers or fathers (n = 2931) previously participated in the European Community Respiratory Health Survey (ECRHS). Information was obtained from questionnaires on parental job history pre- and post-conception which was linked to an asthma-specific job-exposure matrix (JEM). We assessed the association between parental occupational exposure and offspring asthma, applying logistic regression models, clustered by family and adjusted for study centre, offspring sex, parental characteristics (age, asthma onset, place of upbringing, smoking) and grandparents’ level of education.

Results: Parental occupational exposure to microorganisms, pesticides, allergens or reactive chemicals pre-conception or both pre- and post-conception was not related to offspring asthma; in general, subgroup analyses confirmed this result. However, maternal exposure both pre- and post-conception to allergens and reactive chemicals was associated with increased odds for early-onset asthma in offspring (0-3 years of age); odds ratio 1.70 (95% CI: 1.02-2.84) and 1.65 (95% CI: 0.98-2.77), respectively.

Conclusions: This study did not find evidence that parental occupational exposure, defined by an asthma JEM before conception only or during pre- and post-conception vs non-exposed, was associated with offspring asthma.

Authors: Kathrine Pape, Cecile Svanes, Camilla S Sejbæk, Andrei Malinovschi, Byndis Benediktsdottir, Bertil Forsberg, Christer Janson, Geza Benke, Gro Tjalvin, José Luis Sánchez-Ramos, Jan-Paul Zock, Kjell Toren, Lennart Bråbäck, Mathias Holm, Rain Jõgi, Randi J Bertelsen, Thorarin Gíslason, Torben Sigsgaard, Xiaoqin Liu, Karin S Hougaard, Ane Johannessen, Caroline Lodge, Shyamali C Dharmage, Vivi Schlünssen
; Full Source: International journal of epidemiology 2020 Jul 14;dyaa085. doi: 10.1093/ije/dyaa085.