The molecular basis of occupational allergy.

Cawley, Christopher John (1985). The molecular basis of occupational allergy. BPhil thesis The Open University.



The problem of occupational allergy has only been highlighted in recent years. Diseases and disorders arising from acute exposure to large quantities of chemicals and concern over their potential toxic properties generally overshadow considerations of likely allergic reactions and the possibility of sensitisation developing. This thesis summarises the basic mechanisms of immunity and allergy and lists the substances which have given rise to sensitisation and allergic reactions in workers exposed to them. The literature covering allergy and sensitisation (including case histories of workers, animal studies and laboratory investigations) to particular organic chemicals encountered in occupational environments is reviewed. The mechanisms by which these chemicals stimulate allergic reactions in the body are discussed with particular reference to the chemical structure and molecular configuration of the chemicals. Basic physical data, structural formulae, the adverse reactions reported and related details are tabulated for each chemical. Occupational allergy to acid anhydrides is considered in more detail and typical case histories of sensitised workers given. The question of sensitisation generally is discussed. Recommendations for control measures to prevent or alleviate cases of occupational allergy, on improvements in the screening of workers and for the wider availability of information on the subject are made. Tests used in allergy investigations are summarised and a glossary of medical and related terms is given.

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