Although work-related asthma and allergies are a huge burden for society, investigation of occupational exposures in early work life using an unexposed reference group is rare. Thus, the present analyses aimed to assess the potential impact of occupational exposure and other risk factors on the prevalence of work-related sensitisation and incidence of allergic rhinitis/asthma using a population-based approach and taking into account an unexposed reference group. In SOLAR (Study on Occupational Allergy Risks) II, German participants of ISAAC (International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood) phase II were followed from childhood (9-11 years) until early adulthood (19-24 years). Data on 1570 participants were available to fit predictive models. Occupational exposure was not statistically significantly associated with disease prevalence/incidence. Sensitisation in childhood, parental asthma, environmental tobacco smoke exposure during puberty, sex and study location were statistically significant predictors of outcome. Our results indicate that occupational exposure is of little relevance for work-related sensitisation prevalence and allergic rhinitis/asthma incidence in early work life, while other risk factors can be used to improve career guidance for adolescents. Further research on the role of a potential healthy hire effect and the impact of longer exposure duration is needed.
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