Sick of Work, Literally

Occupational asthma costs U.K. $158M per year

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Occupational asthma (where symptoms are caused by something at work) costs about $158 million a year in the United Kingdom alone.

Virtually all of these costs are absorbed by individuals and the National Health Service (NHS), with employers contributing only about 3 percent, according to a new study. These costs could be curbed by reducing exposure to workplace triggers and asthma-inducing agents.

The Health and Safety Executive estimates that between 1,500 and 3,000 cases of asthma per year are caused by workplace conditions, including chemicals used in spraypaint, flour, foam, carpentry and adhesives. Additionally about 4,000 people in the U.K. suffer from work-related asthma, where existing asthma symptoms are exacerbated by chemicals and substances at work.

Occupational asthma is estimated to cause 2 percent to 20 percent of all asthma cases in industrialized nations. Bakers, farmers, laboratory workers, grain-elevator workers and woodworkers are among those commonly affected.

Symptoms of asthma include chest tightness, coughing, wheezing and breathlessness.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
December 7, 2010
Last Updated:
December 7, 2010