A mother's occupation while pregnant can cause asthma in children

Mothers who are exposed to particular agents during pregnancy could give birth to children with a higher risk of asthma, according to new research.

The study will be presented today (26 September 2011) at the European Respiratory Society's Annual Congress in Amsterdam.

It is well known that when people are exposed to certain substances and chemicals it can cause asthma. However, there has been little research investigating whether a mother's work exposure during pregnancy can lead to asthma in their children.

This research, carried out by scientists in Denmark, included 42,696 children from the Danish National and assessed the association between their mother's occupation and amongst the children at the age of 7 yrs.

The main focus of the study was on the effect of low molecular weight agents, such as and . This includes those found in vehicle parts, furniture, shoe soles, paints, varnish, glues and wood-derived products.

To assess the impact of low molecular weight agents, subjects in the study were classified into occupation groups, including those exposed to low molecular weight agents, mixed exposures, farmers, students and .

The assessment showed that 15.8% of the cohort had asthma. Out of the children whose mothers were occupationally exposed to low substances, 18.6 % had asthma. These results were found after other factors, such as the mothers' age and weight, smoking status, use of medication and exposure to pets, had been taken into account.

There were no significant associations with asthma found within other occupation groups.

Dr Berit Hvass Christensen, from the School of Public Health in Denmark, said: "There are many factors which could cause asthma and many associations which have not been explored. We aimed to investigate whether a mother's occupation can have an effect on their children."

"This is the first large-scale study which has shown an association between maternal exposures during work and in children. Whilst a link has been found, our results at this stage are modest and further research is needed into specific chemicals and substances to determine those that could be most harmful."

Professor Marc Decramer, President of the European Respiratory Society (ERS), said: "Indoor air quality is a major global issue. The European Respiratory Roadmap, which was launched this week to improve lung health, highlights the need for exposure standards, whereby all work places examine levels of allergens and respiratory irritants in their indoor air, to help prevent lung diseases. There is a clear need for this as many allergens are not currently regulated by international guidelines. We believe that everyone is entitled to clean and we can achieve this by taking positive steps towards managing air quality in the workplace."

Related Stories

Increased allergen levels in homes linked to asthma

date Mar 01, 2008

Results from a new national survey demonstrate that elevated allergen levels in the home are associated with asthma symptoms in allergic individuals. The study suggests that asthmatics that have allergies may alleviate symptoms ...

Recommended for you

Breastfeeding protects against environmental pollution

date May 22, 2015

Living in a city with a high level of vehicle traffic or close to a steel works means living with two intense sources of environmental pollution. However, a study conducted by the UPV/EHU researcher Aitana ...

When it comes to hearing, diet may trump noise exposure

date May 22, 2015

Although the old wives' tale about carrots being good for your eyesight has been debunked, University of Florida researchers have found a link between healthy eating and another of your five senses: hearing.

User comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Isaacsname
Sep 26, 2011
Interesting, my mom was working in a virology lab when she was carrying me O:

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.