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Am J Ind Med. 2012 Aug;55(8):677-82. doi: 10.1002/ajim.22036. Epub 2012 Mar 16.

Occupational rhinitis and asthma due to EDTA-containing detergents or disinfectants.

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AP-HP, Paris Poison Centre, Occupational and Environmental Health Unit, Fernand Widal Hospital, Paris, France.



Detergents and disinfectants are an emerging cause of work-related rhinitis and asthma. These products may contain ethylenediamine tetraacetic acid (EDTA). The authors report 10 cases of EDTA-related asthma and/or rhinitis.


Review of the medical charts of patients who presented with work-related rhinitis (alone or with asthma), with a history of exposure to aerosols of EDTA-containing products and who underwent a nasal provocation test (NPT) with tetrasodium EDTA (1-4%) in our occupational health unit.


Twenty-eight patients underwent a NPT with EDTA, which was positive in 10 cases. These patients, mostly cleaners or healthcare workers, used spray formulations of cleaning products.


This case series is the first report of EDTA-related respiratory disease, documented by a specific test. An irritant mechanism is unlikely. Further studies are required to distinguish between an immunoallergic response and a pharmacological mechanism possibly resulting from calcium chelation, as suggested by animal experiments. A ban of spray preparations would be sufficient to prevent respiratory disease induced by EDTA inhalation, regardless of its mechanism.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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