Occupational allergy due to inhalation of ipecacuanha dust


Miss Christina Luczynska, Occupational Medicine and Hygiene Laboratory, Health and Safety Executive, 403 Edgware Road, London NW2 6LN.


A number of workers packing ipecacuanha tablets were complaining of allergic symptoms. Skin-prick tests, RAST and an assessment of clinical history by interview were used to confirm the presence of work-related allergy. Specific IgE antibodies to ipecacuanha were detected and the occurrence of antibodies correlated with the incidence of allergic symptoms. The individuals with positive RAST scores had been employed, on average, longer than those with negative scores. It was found that atopy did not predispose the workers to work-related allergy and that there was no correlation between smoking and respiratory symptoms in this population.