Nurses Who Breathe in Cleaning Chemicals are More Likely to Get Asthma

In a study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine on January 22, researchers looked to identify occupational exposure risk factors associated with development of new-onset asthma after entering the nursing profession. The research comes from a statewide cross-sectional survey of 3650 healthcare workers including 941 nurses with active licenses, and three other healthcare professional groups; physicians, respiratory therapists, and occupational therapists in Texas. Outcome variables were physician-diagnosed new-onset asthma after entry into the health care profession and symptoms associated with bronchial hyper responsiveness. Occupational exposures were ascertained through an externally developed job-exposure matrix, grouped into four categories: cleaning-related tasks, use of powdered latex gloves, administration of aerosolized medications, and tasks involving adhesive compounds, glues and/or solvents. Results reported asthma was significantly greater among nursing professionals involved in medical instrument cleaning and exposure to general cleaning products and disinfectants among others.

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