cross-sectional study Several studies, mostly based on questionnaire-derived data, have shown an increased risk of allergic diseases, especially asthma, among cleaners. The risk factors and aetiological mechanisms are still being investigated. Occupational exposure to various chemical and biological agents may induce specific sensitisation and/or irritant effects. The aim of the present study was to estimate the prevalence of work-related symptoms suggesting the presence of allergic disease reported by cleaners, and to relate them to the results of commercially available and standardised objective tests used for screening detection of occupational sensitisation and chronic respiratory disorders. A cross-sectional study was performed among 142 Polish workers of cleaning service in their workplaces. A detailed questionnaire, skin prick tests to common allergens and chemicals used by these workers for cleaning purposes (chloramine T, chlorhexidine, formaldehyde, glutaraldehyde, benzalconium chloride), total and specific serum IgE antibodies to disinfectants and rest spirometry were performed in all the subjects. Fifty nine percent of all the subjects declared occurrence of at least 1 symptom suggesting allergic ailment during cleaning activities at work. Skin prick tests and specific serum IgE antibodies to disinfectants were negative in all the subjects. In 8 cases wheezing was detected during auscultation, but only in 5 of them obstructive pattern in rest spirometry was found. The authors concluded that occupational allergic causation of symptoms among cleaners could be less likely than work-related symptoms associated with exacerbations of new-onset or pre-existing respiratory diseases. Therefore, in this group of workers, mainly the non-specific irritant impact of chemicals on airways should be taken into consideration.
Authors: Lipi?ska-Ojrzanowska A, Wiszniewska M, Swierczy?ska-Machura D, Wittczak T, Nowakowska-?wirta E, Pa?czy?ski C, Walusiak-Skorupa J. ;Full Source: International Journal of Occupational Medicine & Environmental Health 2014 May 19. [Epub ahead of print] ;