Format

Send to

Choose Destination
Int J Hyg Environ Health. 2019 Mar;222(2):211-220. doi: 10.1016/j.ijheh.2018.10.001. Epub 2018 Oct 13.

Occupation and task as risk factors for asthma-related outcomes among healthcare workers in New York City.

Author information

1
Respiratory Health Division, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Morgantown, WV, United States.
2
Respiratory Health Division, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Morgantown, WV, United States. Electronic address: pkh0@cdc.gov.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Previous studies have suggested an association of asthma onset and exacerbation with cleaning and disinfecting activities in a number of industries, including healthcare. The objective of the current study was to investigate the association of asthma and related outcomes with occupations and tasks in urban healthcare workers in the United States.

METHODS:

A questionnaire was implemented in a sample of workers from nine healthcare occupations in New York City. We used regression models to examine the association of post-hire asthma, current asthma, exacerbation of asthma, a symptom algorithm for bronchial hyper-responsiveness (BHR-related symptoms), a symptom-based asthma score, and the symptom wheeze with occupation and four healthcare tasks, while adjusting for other risk factors and potential confounders.

RESULTS:

A total of 2030 participants completed the questionnaire. The task of cleaning fixed surfaces was significantly associated with most outcome variables, including current asthma (odds ratio (OR) = 1.84, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.26-2.68), moderate exacerbation (OR = 3.10, 95% CI 1.25-7.67), and BHR-related symptoms (OR = 1.38, 95% CI 1.08-1.77). In comparison to nursing assistants, the occupations environmental service workers and registered nurses were at higher risk for current asthma, and licensed practical nurses were at higher risk for moderate exacerbation. Other tasks associated with outcomes were administering aerosolized medications with current asthma and moderate exacerbation, and sterilizing medical equipment with BHR-related symptoms.

CONCLUSIONS:

These findings add to the growing body of evidence for the association of asthma with cleaning and other activities in healthcare. Further research is especially needed to investigate the association of asthma-related outcomes with exposure metrics based on tasks, products, and chemical exposures in healthcare.

KEYWORDS:

Asthma; Cleaning; Disinfecting; Healthcare; Occupation; Work tasks

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center