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Point-of-Sale Printers May Trigger Asthma
Date:5/27/2009

e off chemical irritation and precipitate asthma," Horovitz said.

Though the woman did not smoke, she had experienced coughing, shortness of breath, wheezing and other symptoms typical of asthma for more than two years before visiting the clinic. The problems started within an hour of her arriving at work at the tiny kiosk and vanished on her days off.

On three occasions, the symptoms became so severe that the woman sought emergency treatment.

When the woman was first examined in the clinic, bronchial, breathing and other tests turned up normal. But then the researchers had the woman paint on cardboard for 30 seconds using a special acrylate tint from the lottery company. Very quickly, her airway function decreased by 19 percent, the researchers reported.

Painting for 90 seconds resulted in a 45 percent decrease in her breathing function, although there was no actual asthmatic reaction, the team added.

A week later, she was asked to print tickets on her usual point-of-sale terminal for 90 seconds. Again, a decrease in the same measure of airflow function occurred, this time a drop of 15 percent. Her respiratory function eventually returned to normal.

The woman has now left her long-time job, leaving behind her symptoms, the team said.

"The message for doctors is that in cases of adult asthma in patients working with point-of-sale terminals in close environments (kiosks, closed booths), it is recommended to keep in mind sensitization to acrylates released from thermal paper, Sastre said.

Horovitz said the finding fits the general picture of chemical irritants triggering asthma. But, he added, "if I was printing a large number of winning lottery tickets, I'd be a lot more interested."

More information

The U.S. National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute has more on '/>"/>

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