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Radon, Katja; Gerhardinger, Ursula; Schulze, Anja; Zock, J-P; Norback, Dennis; Toren, K.; Jarvis, D.; Held, L.; Heinrich, J.; Leynaert, B.; Nowak, D.; Kogevinas, M. (2008): Occupation and adult onset of rhinitis in the general population. In: Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Vol. 65, No. 1: pp. 38-43




Objectives: Occupational exposures have been associated with an increased risk of new-onset rhinitis in apprentices. However, population-based prospective data are scarce and do not cover new onset of rhinitis later in life. The authors studied the association between occupational exposure and adult onset of rhinitis prospectively.Methods: The data of 4994 participants (age at follow-up 28--57 years) from 27 centres of the European Community Respiratory Health Survey II who were symptom-free at baseline were analysed. As outcome at follow-up self-reported (a) nasal allergies (``allergic rhinitis'') and (b) runny, blocked nose for 12 months a year (``perennial rhinitis'') were used. Occupational exposures at any time during follow-up were defined by job title.Results: The cumulative incidence of allergic rhinitis, perennial rhinitis and both conditions was 12%, 11% and 3%, respectively. Compared to office workers, male medical professionals were at increased risk of new onset of allergic rhinitis (OR 3.0; 95% CI 1.4 to 6.4). Odds ratios were reduced in metal workers not involved in metal making or treating (0.3; 95% CI 0.1 to 0.7). For perennial rhinitis ORs were significantly increased in cleaners (1.4; 95% CI 1.0 to 2.1).Conclusions: Cleaners and medical professionals may be at increased risk for adult-onset rhinitis.