Southwest Center for Occupational and Environmental Health


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Cleaning Tasks and Products and Asthma Among Health Care Professionals.

Project Overview

Health care workers are at risk for work-related asthma, which may be affected by changes in cleaning practices. We examined associations of cleaning tasks and products with work-related asthma in health care workers in 2016, comparing them with prior results from 2003.

We estimated asthma prevalence by professional group and explored associations of self-reported asthma with job-exposure matrix-based cleaning tasks/products in a representative Texas sample of 9914 physicians, nurses, respiratory/occupational therapists, and nurse aides.

Results: Response rate was 34.8% (n = 2421). The weighted prevalence rates of physician-diagnosed (15.3%), work-exacerbated (4.1%), and new-onset asthma (6.7%) and bronchial hyperresponsiveness symptoms (31.1%) were similar to 2003. New-onset asthma was associated with building surface cleaning (odds ratio [OR], 1.91; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.10-3.33), use of ortho-phthalaldehyde (OR, 1.77; 95% CI, 1.15-2.72), bleach/quaternary compounds (OR, 1.91; 95% CI, 1.10-3.33), and sprays (OR, 1.97; 95% CI, 1.12-3.47).

Conclusion: Prevalence of asthma/bronchial hyperresponsiveness seems unchanged, whereas associations of new-onset asthma with exposures to surface cleaning remained, and decreased for instrument cleaning.”

  • Kelly Oyer-Peterson
  • David Gimeno Ruiz de Porras
  • Inkyu Han
  • George L. Delclos
  • Edward G. Brooks
  • Masoud Afshar
  • Kristina W. Whitworth