Workplace asthma costs UK at least $158 million a year

November 24, 2010

Workplace asthma costs the UK at least £100 million a year, and may be as high as £135 million, reveals research published online in Thorax.

An estimated 3,000 new cases of occupational asthma are diagnosed every year in the UK, but the condition is under diagnosed, say the authors.

They reviewed published data on the costs of all asthma and workplace asthma, as well as the impact costs.

The evidence was then used to calculate the costs of workplace asthma on an individual's ability to work and their wider life, including their use of health services, based on a series of six likely scenarios.

These included a male and female employee who developed asthma after being exposed to one of three likely and common sources. These were: isocyanates, used in products such as insulation, paints, car seats, underlay, and laminate; latex (gloves used in healthcare); and flour or grain.

The financial impacts were then divided up among those likely to be borne by the individual, the employer, and the state. Direct costs, such as use of healthcare and benefits; indirect costs, such as lost income and productivity; and employer costs were added together to come up with a total cost generated over time at 2003 prices.

The authors calculated that the true costs lay between £72 and £100 million over the life course of those affected, or £3.4 to £4.8 million a year. The costs for male employees were more than twice those for female employees.

But taking account of an underestimation of occupational asthma diagnosis by a third, the total could be closer to £135 million, suggest the authors.

Half the costs fall on the individual; just under half falls on the state. But only 3-4% falls on employers.

The authors suggest that there is scope for huge savings to be made if steps were taken to reduce the levels of exposure to agents which cause workplace asthma.

"The findings also suggest that the employer should bear more responsibility for establishing approaches to disease reduction by introduction of appropriate exposure control interventions and changes in work processes," they conclude.
-end-


BMJ

Related Asthma Articles from Brightsurf:

Breastfeeding and risks of allergies and asthma
In an Acta Paediatrica study, exclusive breastfeeding for the first 3 months was linked with a lower risk of respiratory allergies and asthma when children reached 6 years of age.

Researchers make asthma breakthrough
Researchers from Trinity College Dublin have made a breakthrough that may eventually lead to improved therapeutic options for people living with asthma.

Physics vs. asthma
A research team from the MIPT Center for Molecular Mechanisms of Aging and Age-Related Diseases has collaborated with colleagues from the U.S., Canada, France, and Germany to determine the spatial structure of the CysLT1 receptor.

New knowledge on the development of asthma
Researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden have studied which genes are expressed in overactive immune cells in mice with asthma-like inflammation of the airways.

Eating fish may help prevent asthma
A scientist from James Cook University in Australia says an innovative study has revealed new evidence that eating fish can help prevent asthma.

Academic performance of urban children with asthma worse than peers without asthma
A new study published in Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology shows urban children with poorly controlled asthma, particularly those who are ethnic minorities, also suffer academically.

Asthma Controller Step Down Yardstick -- treatment guidance for when asthma improves
The focus for asthma treatment is often stepping up treatment, but clinicians need to know how to step down therapy when symptoms improve.

Asthma management tools improve asthma control and reduce hospital visits
A set of comprehensive asthma management tools helps decrease asthma-related visits to the emergency department, urgent care or hospital and improves patients' asthma control.

Asthma linked to infertility but not among women taking regular asthma preventers
Women with asthma who only use short-acting asthma relievers take longer to become pregnant than other women, according to research published in the European Respiratory Journal.

What are the best ways to diagnose and manage asthma?
A team of experts from The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston examined the current information available from many different sources on diagnosing and managing mild to moderate asthma in adults and summarized them.

Read More: Asthma News and Asthma Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.