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. We studied the association between occupational exposure and adult-onset of rhinitis prospectively. Methods: Data of 4994 participants (age at follow-up 28 to 57 years) from 27 centres of the European Community Respiratory Health Survey II who were symptom free at baseline were used. 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. As compared to office workers, male medical professionals were at increased risk of new onset of allergic rhinitis (Odds ratio 3.0; 95% confidence interval 1.4, 6.4). Odds ratios were reduced in metal workers not involved in metal making or treating (0.3; 0.1, 0.7). For perennial rhinitis odds ratios were significantly increased in cleaners (1.4; 1.0, 2.1). Conclusions: Cleaners and medical professionals may be at increased risk for adult-onset of rhinitis.
- cohort study
- medical staff
- occupational exposure
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