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Eur Respir J. 2007 Sep;30(3):549-55. Epub 2007 May 30.

First months of employment and new onset of rhinitis in adolescents.

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Unit for Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology and Net Teaching, Institute for Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, Ziemssenstrasse 1, D-80336 Munich, Germany.


The aim of the present study was to investigate the incidence of rhinitis in adolescents, taking into account the duration and type of employment in holiday and vocational jobs, and to study latency until development of symptoms. Participants of the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood (ISAAC)-II study in Munich and Dresden (Germany), who were enrolled in 1995, were re-contacted by a postal questionnaire in 2002 (aged 16-18 yrs). The questionnaire focused on allergic rhinitis, type and duration of all jobs, and potential confounders. All jobs held for >/=8 h.week(-1) and >/=1 month were coded and occupational exposure was assigned by a job-exposure matrix. Out of the 3,785 participants, 964 reported an employment history. The median (25th-75th percentile) duration of employment was 10 (1-16) months. After adjusting for potential confounders, those working in high-risk occupations (odds ratio (OR) 1.4, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.0-2.1) had an increased risk for new onset of rhinitis, especially those exposed to low molecular weight agents (OR 1.8, 95% CI 1.1-2.8). The incidence of rhinitis was highest among those currently employed in a high-risk job for <10 months. Teenagers who start working in high-risk occupations have a higher incidence of rhinitis compared with those not working. This increased risk might occur early on during employment.

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