Occupational allergy to bell pepper pollen in greenhouses in the Netherlands, an 8-year follow-up study

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P>Background: Pollen from bell pepper plants cultivated in greenhouses are known to cause occupational allergic disease. A cross-sectional study among 472 bell pepper employees in 1999 estimated prevalences for sensitization to bell pepper pollen of 28% and for work-related allergic symptoms of 54%. There is scarce information on the incidence of work-related allergy and its risk factors. Aims of the present study were to estimate the cumulative incidence of work-related symptoms and sensitization to bell pepper pollen, and to determine risk factors for the onset of these symptoms and sensitization. Methods: Bell pepper employees who participated in a cross-sectional survey in 1999 were asked to take part in a follow-up study in 2007. Information on demographic characteristics, job characteristics and allergic symptoms was gathered by means of a questionnaire. Furthermore, skin tests were performed with a.o. bell pepper pollen. Results: In total, 280 of 472 employees were available for questionnaires and in 250 employees allergy tests were performed. During the 8-year follow-up, the cumulative incidence of sensitization to bell pepper pollen was 9% and of work-related rhinitis 19%. Atopy [odds ratio (OR) 5.60] and smoking (OR 3.53) were significantly associated with development of rhinitis. The cumulative incidence of work-related asthma symptoms was 8%. Again atopy (OR 5.03) and smoking (OR 11.85) were significant risk factors. Conclusion: Cumulative incidences for sensitization to bell pepper pollen, work-related rhinitis and asthma symptoms were 9%, 19% and 8%, respectively. Atopy and smoking are risk factors for developing work-related symptoms among workers in bell pepper horticulture.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)1423-1429
Number of pages7
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2010

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