Advances in Food and Nutrition Research. Taylor, SL, ed., San Diego, CA: Academic Press, 2008 Sep; 55:163-192
Workers in the food industry are exposed to multiple respiratory hazards that include irritants, allergens, and substances capable of causing destruction and scarring of the lungs. Cases of constrictive bronchiolitis obliterans, a severe potentially disabling lung disease, have been identified in workers exposed to flavorings. Workplace engineering controls, work practices, and respiratory protection can minimize potential exposures. Medical surveillance of workers exposed to known respiratory hazards will help to identify disease early, facilitate the prompt removal of workers from the causative exposure(s), and prevent further worsening and/or permanence of disease. When companies or employees suspect occupational respiratory disease, they can involve public health agencies to investigate any excess risk of lung disease, risk factors among processes and exposures, and effectiveness of interventions, if needed.