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Work-exacerbated asthma triggers and jobs

Industries with a higher risk of work-exacerbated asthma

  • Services industry (cleaners, restaurants industry, fire fighters)
  • Wholesale and retail trade (manufacturing of plastics, furnishings, electronics)
  • Public administration (like a government office job)
  • Transportation and public utilities (like a bus driver or a city electrical worker)


Common Triggers

  • Mineral and inorganic dusts
  • Sprays
  • Fumes and gases (e.g. construction dust, paint fumes, cleaning triggers, irritant chemicals such as acids)


Specific WEA Triggers and Jobs


Triggers Relevant Jobs and Workplaces
  • Construction
  • Renovation dust in offices
  • Mining, animal care workers changing cages (also can cause occupational asthma)
  • Bakeries - flour dust (also can cause occupational asthma)
  • Farms - grain dust (also can cause occupational asthma)
Fumes and Vapours
  • Welding
  • Medical radiation technologists (non-digital)
  • Cleaning products in various settings, such as carpet cleaning
  • Cleaning, general office cleaning
  • Laboratory workers
  • Health-care workers (cleaning products, construction/renovation dust, moulds, paint fumes, chemicals, second hand smoke, carpet glue fumes, ammonia products, other chemicals)
  • Swimming teachers (pools)
  • Paint fumes in industry or in renovation of offices
  • Foundries
  • Diesel exhaust fumes in shipping areas of industries, and in workers on highways, toll booths, and tunnels
  • Ozone - some swimming pools, bottling plants, photocopy machines, some paper mills
  • Ammonia - farming environments such as barns
  • Sulphur dioxide or hydrogen sulphide - paper mills
  • Chlorine or chlorones - paper mills, cleaning
Cold Environment
  • Outdoors in winter (snow removal, police controlling traffic, skaters, skating teachers)
  • Refrigeration settings (restaurant storage, etc.)
  • Firefighters and other emergency workers
  • Industrial settings (accidental fires)
  • Second-hand cigarette smoke (should not be an exposure at work now)
  • Farm workers, animal feed workers, laboratory, animal workers
  • Workers exposed to metal working fluids
Humidity and Heat
  • Industrial settings
Strenuous Exercise
  • Emergency response workers
  • Professional athletes or physical education teachers

*if you have a work exposure that you think is triggering your asthma but it is not listed above, please contact your health-care professional.


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