Asthma caused by colophony

  • Adhesives industry
  • Beautician
  • Electronics,
  • Poulterer
  • Tyre industry
  • Welder

Abietic acid, Colophony, Pyrolysis aldehydes, Rosin, Telux.

Incidence: between 4 and 20% of exposed subjects (depending on the literature). Subjects do not become atopic, but those who are already atopic are more severely affected. No immunological mechanism has been demonstrated to date, however direct toxicity has been shown in rats (Altman L.C. Studies on the pathogenenis of pine resin and wood induced lung disease Am. Rev. Resp. Dis. 1989). The threshold set by ACGIH for solder decomposition products is 0.1 mg/m3 expressed in terms of the formaldehyde concentration. 

Fumes produced during the pyrolysis of solders or other materials containing colophony. Telux¨ which is used as a replacement product in subjects allergic to colophony may also induce asthma.
These pyrolysis aldehydes may also give rise to RADS (Reactive airways dysfunction syndrome or asthma caused by irritants – Brook's Syndrome).
Conjunctivitis, rhinitis and asthma symptoms develop after several years of exposure to the risk. Fever and myalgia symptoms may also occur. Dermatological problems due to colophony and resins can occur - eczema.
Diagnostic methods
A bronchial provocation test (in hospital) by inhalation is the only definitive test. It is also important to study the respiratory parameters in the work place. Measurement of dehydroabietic acid in the urine would also be a good diagnostic tool. The level of this acid (an oxidation product of abietic acid) is proportional to the exposure to the risk.


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