Table 3

Association of adult onset asthma with ever having worked in a high-risk exposure group by age 42

Adult onset asthmaAdult onset asthma with airflow limitation†
Exposure groupCase/totalOROR*95% CIp Valueq ValueCase/totalOR*95% CIp Value
Main categories of high-risk exposures
 Reference group (always worked in non-exposed)147/18641.001.0024/15671.00
  Any exposure to HMW183/18971.261.331.05 to 1.680.018N/A37/15931.450.86 to 2.47N/A
  Any exposure to LMW189/19661.251.491.18 to 1.890.001N/A37/16371.510.88 to 2.59N/A
  Any exposure to mixed environments†75/8071.211.451.07 to 1.970.016N/A19/6691.860.99 to 3.50N/A
  High probability of accidental peak exposure to irritants18/3280.681.050.62 to 1.770.870N/A4/2691.190.39 to 3.63N/A
Subcategories of high-risk exposures
 High molecular weight
  HMW animal antigens21/2491.081.260.77 to 2.060.3530.4415/2121.480.55 to 4.010.442
  HMW fish/shellfish antigens3/24 
  HMW flour associated antigens14/1111.702.121.17 to 3.850.0140.0536/815.482.12 to 14.200.000
  HMW plant other associated antigens21/2251.211.540.94 to 2.520.0850.1425/1882.340.92 to 5.920.074
  HMW mite and insect antigens30/2551.571.380.90 to 2.120.1370.1877/2111.790.75 to 4.310.192
  HMW antigenic enzymes12/901.812.321.22 to 4.420.0100.0535/645.972.14 to 16.690.001
  HMW latex antigens114/11341.321.290.99 to 1.670.0600.14220/9721.230.67 to 2.260.503
  HMW bioaerosol antigens19/3110.771.090.65 to 1.810.7490.8644/2591.140.38 to 3.410.818
  HMW pharmaceutical product antigens0/5 
 Low molecular weight
  LMW highly reactive chemicals74/8091.191.330.98 to 1.790.0670.14213/6701.230.61 to 2.480.555
  LMW reactive chemicals-isocyanates11/1880.731.040.54 to 1.980.9110.9364/1591.910.63 to 5.790.253
  LMW reactive cleaning/disinfecting products92/7551.631.671.26 to 2.220.0000.00020/6271.911.03 to 3.560.041
  LMW antigenic wood dusts21/2691.001.490.91 to 2.450.1150.1731/222
  LMW metal and metal fume antigens50/6091.051.451.02 to 2.070.0390.11714/4972.131.05 to 4.320.037
 Mixed environments†
  Mixed environments: metal working fluids exposures11/1890.731.030.54 to 1.970.9360.9362/155
  Mixed environments: textile production32/2571.671.711.12 to 2.610.0120.0539/2082.361.05 to 5.310.038
  Mixed environments: agricultural antigens35/3991.131.430.96 to 2.130.0780.14210/3382.140.99 to 4.620.054
  • Each effect estimate is from a separate model with the reference group being individuals who had always worked in a non-exposed job. Note that the exposure groups are not mutually exclusive and are not adjusted for exposure to any of the other agents in the table.

  • The q value corresponds to the minimum false discovery rate at which the test may be called significant (q<0.05).

  • Bold type indicates conventional levels of statistical significance (p<0.05).

  • *Adjusted for sex, smoking, father's social class at birth, region and hay fever.

  • †Those with asthma but no airflow limitation were coded ‘no’ for this analysis.

  • HMW, high molecular weight; LMW, low molecular weight; N/A, correction for multiple testing not applied.