Occupational Asthma is a type of Asthma which occurs due to substances/triggers found in workplace which cause the airways of thelungs to swell and narrow. This leads to attacks of wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and coughing. In France, Flour was identified as the main cause (seen in 20% of cases), followed by ammonium compounds often found in cleaning products (15%) and Women were more likely to be diagnosed with occupational asthma (43 per million compared with 29 per million seen in men)
Incidence rates were higher among skilled and unskilled workers (116 per million) when compared with farmers (97 per million). The highest incidence rate was seen in people working in the manufacture of food products and beverages (279 per million) compared with those working in agriculture (160 per million). In 1996-99, 2178 cases of occupational asthma were reported to the ONAP, giving a mean annual rate of 24/million. OSHA (the Occupational Safety and Health Administration) is a government agency that has created guidelines that determine acceptable levels of exposure to substances that may cause asthma. Employers are required to follow these rules.