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Int J Occup Med Environ Health. 2009;22(3):293-5. doi: 10.2478/v10001-009-0022-7.

Occupational asthma due to turpentine in art painter--case report.

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Centre of Occupational Allergy and Environmental Health, Nofer Institute of Occupational Medicine and Environmental Health, Łódź, Poland.


Turpentine is a fluid obtained by distillation of wood resins containing mixture of terpens. It can act as an irritant and sensitiser. Most common health problem among workers exposed to turpentine is contact dermatitis. Little is know about turpentine to cause type I hypersensitivity reaction. We present a case of a 27-year old art painter using turpentine as a thinner for oil-based paints. She developed asthmatic reactions after 5 years of working with turpentine. A number of clinical procedures were performed, including clinical examination, routine laboratory tests, total serum IgE, skin prick tests to common aeroallergens, metal salts, oil-based paints and balsamic turpentine, resting spirometry test, histamine challenge, and a single-blind, placebo-controlled specific inhalation challenge with balsamic turpentine. Clinical findings and laboratory test results were normal but a significant bronchial hyperreactivity was found. During the specific challenge, dyspnoea and decreased forced expiratory volume (FEV1) were observed in late phase of asthmatic reaction. An increased proportion of eosinophils in induced sputum could also be noted 24 h after the challenge. Positive clinical response to the specific challenge as well as the morphological changes found in induced sputum served as the basis for diagnosing occupational asthma. To our knowledge, this is the first well-documented case of turpentine-induced occupational asthma.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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