Occupational rhinitis and asthma due to EDTA-containing detergents or disinfectants

Background: Detergents and disinfectants are an emerging cause of work-related rhinitis and asthma. These products may contain ethylenediamine tetraacetic acid (EDTA). The authors report 10 cases of EDTA-related asthma and/or rhinitis.
Methods: Review of the medical charts of patients who presented with work-related rhinitis (alone or with asthma), with a history of exposure to aerosols of EDTA-containing products and who underwent a nasal provocation test (NPT) with tetrasodium EDTA (1–4%) in our occupational health unit.
Results: Twenty-eight patients underwent a NPT with EDTA, which was positive in 10 cases. These patients, mostly cleaners or healthcare workers, used spray formulations of cleaning products.
Conclusions: This case series is the first report of EDTA-related respiratory disease, documented by a specific test. An irritant mechanism is unlikely. Further studies are required to distinguish between an immunoallergic response and a pharmacological mechanism possibly resulting from calcium chelation, as suggested by animal experiments. A ban of spray preparations would be sufficient to prevent respiratory disease induced by EDTA inhalation, regardless of its mechanism.

Source : LABORDE-CASTÉROT, Hervé et al. American Journal of Industrial Medicine, March 16, 2012.

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