Occupational Health Watch: Asthma on the Job

Roughly 40% of California’s adults with asthma, or an estimated 974,000 people, have asthma that has been caused or aggravated by their work.  Nearly two-thirds of these workers did not have asthma until it was caused by conditions or substances at a job.

This is a key finding from a new asthma tracking report that includes a chapter devoted to work-related asthma.  The California Department of Public Health has just released, “Asthma in California: A Surveillance Report.”  OHB’s Work-Related Asthma Prevention Program (WRAPP) analyzed data from a statewide survey conducted between 2006 and 2009 to estimate the extent of work-related asthma among Californians for the report.

The survey also showed that only 28% of people with work-related asthma reported having discussed work exposures with their doctor, illustrating that work-related asthma is often not recognized or diagnosed.

The impacts of work-related asthma are serious. Symptom frequency, asthma attacks, and limitation of activities, were significantly more common among adults with work-related asthma compared to adults with asthma that is not work-related.

Read the chapter: Work-related Asthma (PDF)

Read the full asthma surveillance report: Asthma in California: A Surveillance Report

Access other resources on the WRAPP website: Tracking Work-Related Asthma