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E3N-Occupational exposure to cleaning agents or disinfectants and adult-onset asthma, in a large cohort of French women

Françoise Clavel-Chapelon (INSERM- Institut Gustave-Roussy)
Funded by
French League against Cancer
European Community
3M Company
Mutuelle Générale de l’Education Nationale
Gustave Roussy Institute
French National Institute of Health and Medical Research
Recent studies have reported an increased risk of asthma associated with exposure to cleaning agents and disinfectants.

Aim: To study the association between lifetime exposure to cleaning agents and asthma in a large cohort of French women (E3N) aged 50 to 80 years, spouse or workers from educational sector.

Methods: Both occupation and asthma were reported by questionnaire in 2005 among 71412 women. The mean age was 65 years and most had never smoke (60%). Out of 47541 women without missing data for asthma ever and occupation, 4132 (8.7%) reported a doctor diagnosis of asthma among whom 2502 had an adult-onset of asthma (first attack >16 years). Two estimates of potential exposure to cleaning agents and/or disinfectants (yes/no) were defined: (a) exposed on the basis of the last held job title (2.8% cleaner, nurse ) or not exposed (teacher ) (b) ever employed as a cleaner (3.4%). Association between exposures and asthma were evaluated using logistic regression analyses with adjustment for age and smoking.

Results: Positive and significant associations were found between ever asthma and exposure to cleaning agents before and after adjustment (OR [95% IC]=1.2[1.0-1.5] for both estimates). The prevalence of adult-onset asthma was higher among women exposed in the last job (OR=1.5[1.2-1.9]) and among those ever employed as cleaners (OR=1.4[1.1-1.7]). Both exposure estimates were not associated with childhood-onset asthma (OR: 0.8 and 0.9).

Conclusion: Results from this large cohort supports the hypothesis that exposure to cleaning agents and/or disinfectants represents an important risk factor for adult-onset asthma in women.

CREAL Collaborations: Cleaning products and asthma

Our Team

Principal Investigator (PI)

  • Josep M. Antó Boqué
    Josep M. Antó Boqué

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