Asthma caused by acid fumes

  • Bath enamelling
  • Laboratory staff
  • Metallurgist
  • Pulping/Paper industry
Chlorine, Hydrochlorid acid, Hydrofluoric acid, Nitric acid, Perchloric acid, Sulphuric acid.
Incidence: low.
Symptoms often appear in subjects with a predisposition to bronchial hyperreactivity, however this is not always the case.
Recovery to normal FEV1 values can take from 9 months to a year after exposure to the risk has ceased. The normalisation of the FEV1 value seems to be more rapid in these cases than in classical occupational asthma.
This type of asthma has been reported in inorganic analysis laboratories. Other cases include: metal industries (nickel and chrome plating).
Coating of sanitation ware, such as baths, can result in severe cases following exposure to hydrofluoric
Acute asthma, epidemic following exposure to acid fumes in large quantities RADS (Reactive airways dysfunction syndrome or asthma caused by irritants – Brook's syndrome). Cough and breathing difficulties may precede the asthmatic symptoms.

ENT symptoms may be signs of an impending bronchial pathology.
Diagnostic methods
Measurement of respiratory parameters in the work place (decrease of 20% in the FEV1 value).


  1. INRS 2000 DMT 82 TR 25 page 153 Rosenberg N
  2. Hautarzt 1999,50:665 Meier H. et al.
  3. Occup. Environ. Med. 1999,56:334 - Leroyer C. et al.
  4. J. Allergy Clin. Immunol. 1994,93:12
  5. Am. Rev. Resp.Dis. 1991,143:74
  6. Br. Ind. Med. 1988,45:381

As in all diagnostic testing, the diagnosis is made by the physican based on both test results and the patient history.