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Paint sprayers 80 times more likely to get asthma

Paint sprayers in vehicle bodyshops are 80 times more likely to contract work-related asthma if they work with isocyanate based paints.

Vehicle bodyshops in north London can get free advice on how to keep their employees healthy at a half-day awareness event held at Acton and West London College on February 16.

The Health and Safety Awareness event is aimed at staff in bodyshops who carry out paint spraying with isocyanante based paints, which can cause work-related asthma. Up to 150 'vehicle paint sprayers' contract asthma each year. The event takes place at Acton & West London College, Gunnersbury Lane, Acton, London, W3 8EA.

Based on the HSE-financed ill health reporting scheme, run by Manchester University, the annual number of occupational asthma cases is probably between 1,500 and 2,000 new cases per year.

Isocyanates are the biggest single cause of occupational asthma and the most at-risk group using isocyanates are paint sprayers in motor vehicle bodyshops. Most have to leave the industry and those who stay, trying to soldier on, tend to get worse and worse.

The north London event is one of a series of locally based, free practical training events, followed by inspection campaigns, that are being planned.

Dr Mark Piney, an HSE specialist inspector, said: "Sprayers are more likely to get asthma because of chemicals in the paints they use called isocyanates. When the paint is sprayed, very high concentrations of isocyanates are released into the air.

"Many people who get occupational asthma end up as respiratory cripples. I've met people so badly affected that they can't even walk upstairs without using an inhaler. We want the paint spraying industry to work with us to minimise the suffering that asthma can cause."

Two sessions will run from 9am-12.30pm and from 1.30-5pm. Both sessions will take place at Acton & West London College, Gunnersbury Lane, Acton, London, W3 8EA.

  • If you would like to attend you need to book by calling Michael Tomlin on 020 7556 2115 or by sending an e- mail to
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