Objective: To evaluate the risk of asthma associated with occupational exposures in a population-based cohort.
Methods: The risk of asthma was analyzed in 792 subjects who were asthma free at the age of 13 years. Occupational histories were obtained from subjects at the age of 44 years and occupational exposures determined with an asthma-specific job exposure matrix. Cumulative exposure to latex and risk of asthma was examined using Cox proportional hazards regression.
Results: Development of asthma was modestly related to exposure at any time to high molecular weight latex (odds ratio, 1.4; 95% confidence interval, 0.9–2.3). Cumulative latex exposure of 6 to 15 years was associated with a hazard ratio of 1.6 for the development of asthma and after 16 years increased to 2.65 (95% confidence interval, 1.28–5.47).
Conclusion: There is a significant association between cumulative occupational exposure to latex and new-onset asthma.