Work-related Asthma

Industries and Asthma-Causing Agents

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Listed below are industries where work-related asthma has been identified, and the asthmagens (asthma-causing agents) associated with each. The list includes agents that are sensitizers known to cause allergic asthma, as well as irritants known to be responsible for inducing reactive airways dysfunction syndrome (RADS).
Additional information on industries and occupations, and associated asthmagens can be found through sources listed below the table.



Adhesives industry

acid anhydrides, aliphatic amines, polycyclic compounds, colophony, diisocyanates, methyl methacrylate, cyanoacrylates


insect proteins, pollens, aromatic herbs, livestock, organophosphorous insecticides, soya, chloramides, sulfones, mites

Aircraft filter manufacturing


Aluminum cable soldering


Aluminum industry

aluminium salts, fluorides

Animal handling and processing

animal urine/dander, feathers, avian proteins, penicillins, cephalosporins, cereal seeds, macrolids, oilseed

Artificial fingernail application

methyl methacrylate, cyanoacrylates

Autobody repair

diisocyanates, acrylates, styrene

Automobile painting



enzymes, flour/grain dust, grain mites, insect proteins, cereal seeds, powdered chicken egg

Bath enameling

acid fumes

Boat manufacturing

styrene, diisocyanates, wood dust

Boiler/gas turbine cleaning



hops, chloramine-T

Button manufacturing

nacre (mother of pearl)

Candy manufacturing

vegetable gums


wood dust, formaldehyde, diisocyanates, epoxy resins

Cement manufacturing

potassium dichromate

Ceramic industry

chromium salts, nickel salts

Chemical industry

acid anhydrides, formaldehyde, diisocyanates, methyl methacrylate, cyanoacrylates, sulphites, persulphates, piperazine, platinum salts, quaternary ammonium compounds, coloring reagents, n-methylmorpholine, isothiazolinones

Chrome plating sodium bichromate, chromic acid, potassium chromate
Coffee processing green coffee beans
Condom manufacturing latex, lycopodium powder
Cooking garlic dust, spices, aromatic herbs, papain
Cosmetics manufacturing aliphatic amines, polycyclic compounds, cochineal dust, carmine red, enzymes, formaldehyde, vegetable gums, lycopodium powder, vanillin, quaternary ammonium compounds
Custodial services cleaning agents, latex, mold, dust, bird/bat droppings, quaternary ammonium compounds
Dairy industry animal urine/dander, lactoserum, casein, enzymes
Dentistry latex, methyl methacrylate, cyanoacrylates, epoxy, diisocyanates, formaldehyde, glutaraldehyde, quarternary ammonium compounds
Detergent manufacturing subtilsins (Bacillus subtilis), esperase, enzymes
Diamond industry metal carbides, cobalt, nickel
Dye manufacturing and dyeing levafix brilliant yellow, drimarene brilliant yellow and blue, cibachrome brilliant scarlet, aromatic amines and their derivatives, acid anhydrides, cochineal, carmine red, coloring reagents, sulphites, persulphates
Electronics solder flux fume, colophony, aliphatic amines, polycyclic compounds, acid anhydrides, zinc chloride, ammonium chloride
Entomology insect proteins
Enzyme manufacturing fungal alpha-amylase, enzymes
Epoxy resin manufacturing acid anhydrides
Explosives manufacturing vegetable gums, tetrazene, freon, lycopodium powder
Firefighting combustion products of plastics
Floral industry pollens, house plants, dried flowers
Food industry garlic dust, spices, aromatic herbs, insect proteins, arthropods, shellfish, cochineal, carmine red, enzymes, vegetable gums, oil seeds, dust mites, maiko dust, seafood, powdered chicken egg, sulphites, persulphates, soya, vanillin, tea dust, casein, flours, papain, castor beans, herbal tea, chicory, vegetable oil mist
Food packaging combustion products of polyvinyl chloride
Forensics ninhydrin
Foundry formaldehyde, derivatives of furan, diisocyanates
Fur dyeing para-phenylenediamine
Galvanizing zinc fume
Grain handling and processing grain dust, grain mites, molds
Gum manufacturing vegetable gums
Hairdressing henna, sulphites, persulphates, ethanolamine, formaldehyde, sericin
Health care glutaraldehyde, latex, formaldehyde, methyl methacrylate, cyanoacrylates, quaternary ammonium compounds, methyldopa, penicillins, psyllium, hexachlorophene, chlorhexidine
Insect breeding insect proteins, arthropods
Jewelry polishing cuttlefish bone dust, ivory dust
Laundry enzymes, sulphites, persulphates
Machine shop tungsten carbide, cobalt, nickel, oil mist, coolants, ethanolamines
Meat wrapping polyvinyl chloride fume
Metallurgy aliphatic amines, polycyclic compounds, metal carbides, cobalt, nickel, derivatives of furan, diisocyanates, chromium salts, nickel salts, platinum salts, palladium salts, acid fumes, aluminum salts, fluorides
Mining bioaerosols, styrene, polyester resins
Mortuary science formaldehyde, glutaraldehyde
Mushroom cultivation and processing mushroom spores
Nickel plating nickel sulphate
Office work bioaerosols, cleaning agents
Oyster farming hoya
Paint spraying dimethylethanolamine, diisocyanates, zinc chromate
Paper/pulp manufacturing wood dust, formaldehyde, sulphites, persulphates, acid fumes, quaternary ammonium compounds, proteolytic enzymes, chlorine, diazonium salts
Pea processing mexican bean weevils
Pharmaceutical industry aliphatic amines, polycyclic compounds, aromatic amines and derivatives, acid anhydrides, penicillins, cephalosporins, cochineal dust, carmine red, enzymes, vegetable gums, lycopodium powder, macrolids, sulphites, persulphates, volatile acid chlorides, piperazine, psyllium, chloramides, sulfones, tetracyclines, cynorohodon, hydralazine, rose hips, trypsin, bromelin, papain, pepsin, ipecacuanha dust, morphone, pancreatin, isoniazid, spiramycin, cimetidine, acetic acid, phenylglycine
Pharmacy gentian powder, flaviastase
Phenolic resin manufacturing formaldehyde
Photographic processing aliphatic amines, polycyclic compounds, coloring reagents, chromium salts, glutaraldehyde
Plastics manufacturing aliphatic amines, polycyclic compounds, acid anhydrides, diazonium salts, formaldehyde, methyl methacrylate, diisocyanates, trypsin, bromelin, polyvinyl chloride (fume & dust), azodicarbonamide, styrene, polypropylene fume, dioctyl phthalate
Platinum refining chloroplatinic acid, ammonium hexachloroplatinate, soluble platinum salts
Polyurethane foam manufacturing toluene diisocyanate, diphenylmethane diisocyanate, 4-methylmorpholine
Polyurethane foam spraying diisocyanates
Poultry processing chicken dander and feathers, amprolium hydrochloride
Prawn/crab processing prawns, crabs
Printing/lithography vegetable gums
Refuse collection processing bioaerosols
Rubber industry aliphatic amines, polycyclic compounds, aromatic amines and derivatives, diazonium salts, formaldehyde
Seafood industry shellfish
Silkworm culturing silkworms, sericin
Soldering solder flux fume, colophony, polyether alcohol, polypropylene glycol
Steel industry vanadium
Surgical glove manufacturing latex
Tanning aliphatic amines, polycyclic compounds, coloring reagents, enzymes, formaldehyde, chromium salts, sulphites, persulphates, casein
Tea processing tea dust
Teaching cleaning agents, mold, dusts
Textile industry cochineal dust, carmine red, coloring reagents, enzymes, vegetable gums, chromium salts, sericin, natural fibers, latex
Tobacco farming and processing tobacco leaf, tobacco dust
Tungsten carbide tool manufacturing/grinding cobalt, nickel
Venipuncture bis (tri-n-butyltin) oxide
Veterinary medicine animal proteins, urine/dander, penicillins, cephalosporins, macrolids, piperazine
Water treatment industry chloramides, sulfones, chloramine-T
Welding chromium salts, nickel, chromium, vanadium, zinc chloride, ammonium chloride
Winery mites, organophosphorous insecticides
Woodworking wood dust, ramin
Wool processing wool
X-ray processing glutaraldehyde


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