What causes occupational asthma?

Half of all cases of occupational asthma are caused by the following substances:

  • isocyanates (chemicals found in 2-pack spray paints, etc.);
  • flour dust;
  • grain dust;
  • cutting oils and coolants;
  • glutaraldehyde (a disinfectant mainly used in the healthcare sector);
  • wood dust;
  • natural rubber latex;
  • solder/colophony (colophony, also called rosin, is used in some types of solder flux);
  • laboratory animals; and
  • resins and glues.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has a list of substances that can cause asthma.