Fatal asthma from powdering shark cartilage and review of fatal occupational asthma literature
Article first published online: 20 JUN 2002
Copyright © 2002 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
American Journal of Industrial Medicine
Volume 42, Issue 1, pages 50–54, July 2002
How to Cite
Ortega, H. G., Kreiss, K., Schill, D. P. and Weissman, D. N. (2002), Fatal asthma from powdering shark cartilage and review of fatal occupational asthma literature. Am. J. Ind. Med., 42: 50–54. doi: 10.1002/ajim.10088
- Issue published online: 20 JUN 2002
- Article first published online: 20 JUN 2002
- Manuscript Accepted: 1 APR 2002
- occupational asthma;
- fatal asthma;
- shark cartilage;
- work exposure
Work-related asthma (WRA) is the most common work-associated respiratory disease in developed countries.
We report shark cartilage dust as a new potential cause of occupational asthma (OA) in the context of other fatal OA case reports.
A 38-year-old white male worked for 8 years in a facility which primarily granulated and powdered various plastics. Sixteen months prior to his death, the plant began grinding shark cartilage. After 10 months of exposure, he reported chest symptoms at work in association with exposure to shark cartilage dust and a physician diagnosed asthma. Six months later, he complained of shortness of breath at work and died from autopsy-confirmed asthma. The latency from onset of exposure to symptoms and from symptom onset to death was shorter than 10 previously reported OA fatalities.
Recognition of occupational causes and triggers of asthma and removal of affected individuals from these exposures is critical and can prevent progression to irreversible or even fatal asthma. Am. J. Ind. Med. 42: 50–54, 2002. © 2002 Wiley-Liss, Inc.