At many workplaces, the environment is very complex and a wide variety of workplace agents can cause occupational airway diseases by inhalation. More than 400 occupational agents are identified and documented as being “respiratory sensitizers” capable of triggering the development of occupational asthma (OA) and/or occupational rhinitis (OR), usually by means of a specific immune response.
A primary goal of occupational safety and health are optimal preventive measures to avoid sensitization by occupational substances. This requires knowledge of allergy triggers and whether and in what concentration the allergens are present at the workplace. Standard measurement protocols for the determination of allergens at workplaces are being developed and applied in the course of the project. For this purpose, methods are being improved and developed for sample collection at workplaces determination of allergen load and the assessment of the measured values. The allergen quantification methods for dust collectes from workplaces have been continually developed and validated in recent years with regard to their sensitivity. This enables the IPA to offer the metrological services of the German Social Accident Insurance Institutions a standardized measurement method for numerous allergens relevant to workplaces, including various mite allergens, wheat and rye flour, various enzymes, animal allergens and allergens from obeche wood. The repertoire of validated methods is being extended according to the requirements in the field.