Asthma caused by styrene

  • Plastics industry
Several cases have been reported since 1984. Atopy does not appear to be involved. Both immediate and late phase bronchial reactions are observed. In 1991, the first bronchial provocation test using styrene demonstrated that this product was responsible for asthma.
Styrene is a compound required for the manufacture of glass fibre. An atmospheric concentration of 12 ppm of styrene is sufficient to cause a reduction of 20% in FEV1 capacity (TLV 100 ppm).
Tight chest, nocturnal dyspnoea, cough, irritation of the eyes, skin rashes.
Diagnostic methods
No skin tests are available.
Bronchial provocation test (in hospital).


  1. Thorax 1994,49:400
  2. Thorax 1991,46:396
  3. J. Occup. Med 1987,29:957
  4. Giornale Italiano di Medicina del Lavoro 1988,10:253
  5. Giornale Italiano di Medicina del Lavoro 1984,6:225

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