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List of substances that can cause occupational asthma

Alpha amylases
Enzymes that change starch into sugar. Used in flour milling and bread baking. Also used in detergents, animal feed, textile processing and brewing C37/ C21, C22
Azodicarbonamide
Used in the expansion of polymers in the rubber and plastics industries C1
Bromelains
Enzymes within the fruit, stem and leaves of the pineapple. Used pharmaceutically as an aid to digestion and as an anti-inflammatory agent C38
Carmine
An insect-derived dyestuff. Used for cosmetic and pharmaceutical dyeing and as a food and drink colouring C2
Castor bean dust
Castor oil is used in paint, varnish, hydraulic fluids, printing inks, nylon, plastics and cosmetics and hair oils C3
Cephalosporins
Antibiotics similar to penicillin C39
Chloramine-T
A disinfectant with antiviral, bactericidal and fungicidal properties. Highly reactive with proteins C4
Chloroplatinates and other halogenoplatinates
Platinum salts produced during the refining of platinum metal and the manufacture of catalysts and electrodes C5
Chromium (VI) compounds
Compounds present in stainless steel welding fume and cement and used in electroplating C6
Cobalt (metal and compounds)
Present in the hard metal production and diamond polishing industries C7
Cockroach material
Dust from the bodies, eggs, saliva, faeces and cast skins of cockroaches C40
Coffee bean dust
Dust from the processing of coffee beans C30
Cow epithelium/urine
Dust from cow hair and dander C8
Crustacean proteins
From the processing of prawns, crabs, shrimps and lobsters C9
Diazonium salts
Used in the manufacture of dyes, photocopier paper and fluorine polymer production C10
Egg proteins
From the processing of egg products or the use of eggs in glazing bakery products C31
Ethylenediamine
A corrosive chemical with an irritating vapour used in the printed circuit board and metal finishing industries. Also used in epoxy coatings and resins and in the manufacture of pharmaceuticals C11 / C5
Fish proteins
From the use of automated machines to gut various species of fish C32
Flour dust
Finely ground particles of cereals or pulses, and additives in the final product mix C41
Glutaraldehyde
A chemical disinfectant and biocide used as a cold sterilant of medical and surgical instruments. Also used in the oil and gas industry for the inhibition of corrosion causing bacteria C12
Some hardwood dusts
A general term covering a wide variety of wood dusts. There are 12,000 species of trees of which 11,000 are hardwoods. About 40 species are implicated in causing occupational asthma C13
Henna
A plant derived dye that is used to colour hair and skin C33
Isocyanates
Widely used in manufacture of polyurethane foams, plastics, coatings, varnish, two-pack paints and adhesives C14
Ispaghula
A laxative obtained from the dried ripe seeds of Plantago ovata C42
Laboratory animal excreta/secreta
Mainly from rodents (rats and mice). Also small mammals and insects C15
Latex
Natural rubber latex is from the Hevea braziliensis tree. Health care workers are particularly susceptible through the use of latex gloves. If used the gloves should be the 'powder free' type C16
Maleic anhydride
Used in the manufacture of polyester resins, oil additives and maleic acid C17
Methyltetrahydrophthalic anhydride
Used in the production of epoxy resins used in the manufacture of special application plastics C18
Nickel sulphate
Used in the electroplating industry and the production of hard metal C34
Opiates
A group of drugs derived from opium - includes morphine, heroin and codeine C35
Papain
An enzyme from the fruit of the paw-paw tree. Used for meat tenderising, clearing of beer, treatment of wool and silk and in food, cosmetic and pharmaceutical products C19
Penicillins
A large group of natural or semisynthetic antibiotics C20
Persulphates
Strong oxidising agents used to enhance the action of peroxide hair bleaches C21
Phthalic anhydride
Used in the manufacture of plasticisers, resins, dyes, pesticides and pharmaceuticals C22
Piperazine
Used in the manufacture of dewormers in veterinary and human medicine; the manufacture of hot melt adhesives; and the manufacture of a corrosion inhibitor for the offshore oil industry C23/ HSE RIA
Psyllium
A laxative obtained from the Plantago species C43
Some reactive dyes
Reactive dyes have a high degree of wet fastness. The reactive dye molecule fixes itself to natural materials such as cotton, silk, wool or leather by a strong chemical bond C24/ HSE TEXIAC Info Sheet 5
Rosin-based solder flux fume
Rosins are natural resin derived from pine trees. Most commonly, gum rosin (colophony) is the form used by solderers C25
Some softwood dusts
A general term covering a wide variety of wood dusts derived from mainly coniferous trees. Occupational exposure to cedar dusts is associated with the development of asthma C26
Soybean dust
Soybean, a very rich source of protein, comes from the leguminous plant Glycine max. It is used as the whole bean, the oil and the meal. Soybean flour is used alone or mixed with other flours C44
Spiramycin
An antibiotic manufactured as a fine white powder C27
Storage mites
Found in stored foodstuffs such as hay and grain in conditions of high humidity C36
Subtilisins
Enzymes used in the manufacture of detergents and animal feeds. Also food & leather processing C45 / C24
Tetrachlorophthalic anhydride
Used in production of epoxy resins for manufacture of plastics, paints and electronic components C28
Trimellitic anhydride
Used in production of plasticisers, wire enamels, surface coatings and wall and floor coverings C29
2012-11-06