Display Settings:


Send to:

Choose Destination
J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2003 Feb;111(2):415-9.

Carmine (E-120)-induced occupational asthma revisited.

Author information

  • 1Servicio de Alergología, Hospital Virgen del Camino, CS Conde Oliveto, Plaza de la Paz SN, 31002 Pamplona, Spain.



Occupational asthma (OA) caused by carmine (E-120) has been reported.


We sought to evaluate the prevalence of sensitization and OA at a natural dye processing factory in which 2 workers had been given a diagnosis of carmine-induced OA 6 years previously.


The 24 current employees and one worker who had recently left work because of asthma completed a questionnaire and underwent skin testing (carmine, cochineal, carminic acid, curcuma, annato, and chlorophyll), carmine IgE dot-blot analysis, and methacholine inhalation testing. Workers exhibiting positive occupational skin test responses, work-related asthma, or bronchial hyperresponsiveness underwent specific inhalation challenge and serial peak expiratory flow rate recording.


Positive skin test responses to carmine (41.7%), cochineal (29.2%), and carminic acid (4.2%) were observed. Carmine IgE dot-blot results were positive in 4 subjects. No difference in atopy or smoking was observed between occupationally sensitized and nonsensitized subjects. Among the 5 employees reporting work-related asthma, 2 had positive skin test responses, and 4 had bronchial hyperresponsiveness. Five subjects underwent specific inhalation challenges: 2 workers had early asthma responses to carmine and cochineal challenges, and the remaining subjects did not have suggestive peak expiratory flow recordings. The subject who had left his job was given a diagnosis of carmine-induced OA.


The prevalence of sensitization and OA caused by carmine was 41.6% and 8.3%, respectively. When the 3 workers who had left their jobs were included, the cumulative incidence of sensitization and OA was 48.1% and 18.5%, resembling the healthy worker effect. Prevention programs to establish the permissible levels of airborne allergen should be implemented.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Icon for Elsevier Science
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk