The estimated prevalence of exposure to asthmagens in the Australian workforce, 2014

L. Fritschi, J. Crewe, E. Darcey, A. Reid, D.C. Glass, G.P. Benke, T. Driscoll, Susan Peters, S. Si, M.J. Abramson, R.N. Carey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


© 2016 Fritschi et al. Background: There is very little information available on a national level as to the number of people exposed to specific asthmagens in workplaces. Methods: We conducted a national telephone survey in Australia to investigate the prevalence of current occupational exposure to 277 asthmagens, assembled into 27 groups. Demographic and current job information were obtained. A web-based tool, OccIDEAS, was used to collect job task information and assign exposure to each asthmagen group. Results: In the Australian Workplace Exposure Study - Asthma (AWES- Asthma) we interviewed 4878 participants (2441 male and 2437 female). Exposure to at least one asthmagen was more common among men (47 %) than women (40 %). Extrapolated to the Australian population, approximately 2.8 million men and 1.7 million women were estimated to be exposed. Among men, the most common exposures were bioaerosols (29 %) and metals (27 %), whilst the most common exposures among women were latex (25 %) and industrial cleaning and sterilising agents (20 %). Conclusions: This study provides information about the prevalence of exposure to asthmagens in Australian workplaces which will be useful in setting priorities for control and prevention of occupational asthma.
Original languageEnglish
Article number48
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalBMC Pulmonary Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 9 Apr 2016


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