The prevalence of exposure to high molecular weight asthmagens derived from plants among workers in Australia

Sonia El-Zaemey, Renee N. Carey, Ellie Darcey, Alison Reid, Deborah C. Glass, Tim R. Driscoll, Julie Crewe, Michael J. Abramson, Si Si, Geza Benke, Lin Fritschi

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3 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Limited information is available on exposure to high molecular weight (HMW) asthmagens derived from plants and on the main occupations and tasks that result in such exposure among workers. Methods: Data were collected as part of the Australian Work Exposures Study—Asthma. We estimated adjusted prevalence ratios (aPR) using modified Poisson regression models to determine which factors were associated with exposure. Results: A 12.8% of 4878 workers were exposed to HMW asthmagens derived from plants. The highest prevalence of exposure was found among farmers/animal workers, education workers, and food processing workers. The main circumstances of exposure were through handling flour, freesias, or through raising livestock. Exposure was more common among female workers (aPR = 1.26, 1.10-1.43) than males, while it was lower among workers born overseas (aPR = 0.70, 0.57-0.86) than those born in Australia. Conclusion: Prevention of exposure to HMW asthmagens derived from plants requires a broad strategy targeting different tasks and occupations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)824-830
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Industrial Medicine
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2018


  • asthma
  • asthmagens derived from plants
  • occupation
  • prevalence
  • task

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