Document Detail

Quaternary ammonium compounds and occupational asthma.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  11007347     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
OBJECTIVE: Quaternary ammonium compounds, among which benzalkonium chloride is one of the best-known, are commonly used as antiseptics, disinfectants, detergents and preservatives. They can cause occupational asthma, which however, has been rarely reported so far, despite wide use of these products. We report three such cases. Possible mechanisms causing asthma are discussed, taking into account their characteristics. METHODS AND RESULTS: Our patients, all female nurses, manifested asthma symptoms upon handling disinfectant solutions containing benzalkonium chloride. Work-related fall in PEFR was observed in all of them. The diagnosis was confirmed by challenge tests where the patients were exposed, in a closed chamber, to suspected disinfectant contained in a tray. All of the women developed early or delayed symptoms upon exposure. Similar challenge tests to placebo or other disinfectants devoid of quaternary ammonium compound were negative. CONCLUSION: These three cases, in addition to others reported in the literature, point out an as yet poorly known etiology of occupational asthma to quaternary ammonium compounds in hospital employees. The exact mechanism of the action remains unexplained.
A Purohit; M C Kopferschmitt-Kubler; C Moreau; E Popin; M Blaumeiser; G Pauli
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Case Reports; Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  International archives of occupational and environmental health     Volume:  73     ISSN:  0340-0131     ISO Abbreviation:  Int Arch Occup Environ Health     Publication Date:  2000 Aug 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2001-01-02     Completed Date:  2001-01-18     Revised Date:  2005-11-17    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  7512134     Medline TA:  Int Arch Occup Environ Health     Country:  GERMANY    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  423-7     Citation Subset:  IM    
Service de Pneumologie, Hôpital Lyautey, Hôpitaux Universitaires de Strasbourg, France.
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MeSH Terms
Anti-Infective Agents, Local / adverse effects*
Asthma / etiology*
Benzalkonium Compounds / adverse effects*
Middle Aged
Nursing Staff, Hospital
Occupational Exposure*
Quaternary Ammonium Compounds / adverse effects*
Reg. No./Substance:
0/Anti-Infective Agents, Local; 0/Benzalkonium Compounds; 0/Quaternary Ammonium Compounds

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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