Original article

Scand J Work Environ Health 1987;13(2):150-154    pdf

doi:10.5271/sjweh.2068 | Issue date: Apr 1987

Occupational asthma caused by himic anhydride.

by Rosenman KD, Bernstein DI, O'Leary K, Gallagher JS, D'Souza L, Bernstein IL

Acid anhydride compounds are reactive chemicals that have been previously associated with immunoglobulin E (IgE) mediated occupational asthma. Twenty workers with exposure to himic anhydride powder used for the manufacture of a synthetic flame retardant were questioned about respiratory symptoms. The study was initiated after one individual from the plant developed asthma. A test for serum-specific IgE to human serum albumin conjugates of himic anhydride, phthalic anhydride, hexahydrophthalic anhydride and trimellitic anhydride was performed for seven workers with respiratory symptoms associated with himic anhydride exposure. Three of the seven symptomatic workers who reported wheezing at work exhibited elevated specific IgE to two or more acid anhydride-human serum albumin conjugates. Radioallergosorbent inhibition studies performed with sera containing high levels of himic anhydride-human serum albumin specific IgE from a symptomatic worker demonstrated cross-allergenicity between himic anhydride-human serum albumin and hexahydrophthalic anhydride-human serum albumin allergenic determinants. This study demonstrated that himic anhydride can elicit IgE-mediated sensitization in the workplace.