2003 Work related reactive airway dysfunction syndrome cases from surveillance in selected US states.
Reactive Airways Dysfunction Syndrome (RADS) is a form of asthma which develops following high level chemical exposure (such as a chemical spill or fire) or long-term low level chemical exposure. RADS patients suffered worsened asthma when exposed to such stress as cold air or low level chemical exposure such as second hand tobacco smoke, perfume or pesticides.
During 1993-1995, 123 cases of work related RADS were found in 4 US states as part of surveillance program in selected industries. The most common agents producing RADS were cleaning materials (such as bleach and ammonia) 15%, solvents and pesticides 15%, chlorine 7%, acids, bases and oxidizers 6%, smoke 6% and diesel exhaust 6%. Many of the workers who developed RADS were in relatively clean environments such as secretaries, clerks and telephone operators. By 2002, 41% had to quit work or change jobs to reduce chemical exposure and 39% required at least one hospitalization due to respiratory problems. Seven to 9 years after RADS onset, 89% of the patients still had significant breathing problems. The authors concluded "RADS is a major workplace health problem. ... Increased RADS awareness might stimulate efforts by workers and managers to control workplace exposures that could initiate RADS and efforts by clinicians to recognize, report and treat this work related condition."
- Paul Henneberger et al. Work related reactive airway dysfunction syndrome cases from surveillance in selected US states. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.2003;45:360-368