Asthma caused by diazonium salts

  • Plastics industry
  • Rubber industry
Azodicarbonamide, Diazonium, Tetrafluoroborate.
Incidence: almost 20% amongst exposed subjects. The product itself (rather than one of the pyrolysis gases) may be the agent responsible for the problems associated with the synthesis of poly-vinyl chlorides and polyolefins.
Atopic subjects are not at an increased risk of sensitisation. An immunological mechanism is suspected.
The compound, in the form of either a powder or a gas (380¡C), is used to inflate expanded plastic materials (packaging industry).
Conjunctivitis, rhinitis, cough, breathing difficulties and asthma may appear after several months of exposure. The clinical symptoms may become permanent and may be associated with a severe bronchial hyperreactivity.
Diagnostic methods
Skin prick test: 0.1, 1 and 5% azodicarbonamide.
Bronchial provocation test (in hospital): 15 seconds of exposure to a 50:50 mixture of lactose and azodicarbonamide.
Work place monitoring.


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  2. Am. J. Ind. Med. 1987,11:83
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  4. Thorax 1981,36:906
  5. J. Allergy. Clin. Immunol. 1980,85:1076

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