Grim statistics on occupational asthma

Seven thousand people develop asthma because of their work every year – the
equivalent of 134 people every week – according to new figures from the TUC.

The statistics, published in the union body’s Risk online bulletin, come as
it launches a series of new courses for union reps.

There are around 3.7 million adults with asthma in Great Britain, with more
than 10 per cent suffering because of work.

The main causes are latex gloves, flour dust in bakeries, isocyanates used
in painting and other processes, laboratory animals, solder fumes, wood dust,
glutaraldehyde (used as a disinfectant), glues and resins.

Research by the TUC has also suggested the number of people developing
asthma because of exposure to substances at work is several times the official
estimates of 1,500-3,000 a year.

This summer the HSC will be introducing a new, legally binding Approved Code
of Practice on the control of substances that cause occupational asthma. It
will be an appendix to the new COSHH Regulations 2002.

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