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Emerging trends in the UK incidence of occupational asthma: should we be worried?
  1. Martin J Seed1,
  2. Melanie Carder1,
  3. Matthew Gittins1,
  4. Dil Sen1,
  5. Annemarie Money1,
  6. David Fishwick2,
  7. Chris M Barber2,
  8. Martie van Tongeren1
  1. 1 The University of Manchester, Centre for Occupational and Environmental Health, Manchester, UK
  2. 2 Health and Safety Laboratory, Centre for Workplace Health, Harpur Hill, Buxton, UK
  1. Correspondence to Martin J Seed, The University of Manchester, Centre for Occupational and Environmental Health, Manchester M13 9PL, UK; martin.seed{at}


While 15% of adult-onset asthma is estimated to have an occupational cause, there has been evidence of a downward trend in occupational asthma incidence in several European countries since the start of this millennium. However, recent data from The Health and Occupation Reporting network in the UK have suggested a possible reversal of this downward trend since 2014. We present these data and discuss possible explanations for this observed change in incidence trend. A high index of suspicion of occupational causation in new-onset asthma cases continues to be important, whether or not the recently observed increase in occupational asthma incidence in the UK is real or artefactual.

  • epidemiology
  • occupational asthma

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  • Contributors Each author has made a significant contribution to the study conception, data analysis or writing of the paper.

  • Funding This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.