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Failure of enzyme encapsulation to prevent sensitization of workers in the dry bleach industry.
Liss GM; Kominsky JR; Gallagher JS; Melius J; Brooks SM; Berstein IL
J Allergy Clin Immunol 1984 Mar; 73(3):348-355
Sensitization to encapsulated Bacillus derived exoenzymes (BDE) was studied in workers in the dry bleach industry. Subjects included 13 currently exposed workers at a dry bleach facility using encapsulated enzymes, two previously exposed workers, and nine non exposed employees. Area and personal air samples were analyzed for total particulates and enzyme dust. Subjects were administered questionnaires and underwent physical examination, spirometry, and testing for specific antibody by radioallergosorbent test (RAST) and enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Air levels of enzyme dust ranged from less than 0.002 micrograms per cubic meter (microg/m3) to 1.57microg/m3 in the blending area and ranged up to calculated Esperase (9073772) threshold limit value (3.9microg/m3) based on American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists proposals. Breathing zone samples were above the detergent industry limit of 1mg/m3 for total dust in 13 percent of samples, and about 50 percent of particulates were in the respirable range. Twelve of 13 exposed workers (mean age 37.5 years, nine male) were smokers and six had a history suggesting atopy. Exposed workers had a significant post shift decrease in forced expiratory volume in 1 second; all other spirometric tests were normal. Positive immunoglobulin-E specific for Esperase was found by RAST for three of 12 tested exposed workers. These three had high dust exposures, and one had symptoms considered to be of occupational origin. Non exposed and previously exposed workers were negative. Positive ELISA tests for immunoglobulin-G were found for four of 12 exposed and one of two previously exposed workers. Respiratory symptoms were equally common among the three groups. The authors conclude that while encapsulated BDE may still cause allergic sensitization due to occupational exposure, it is unknown if this is related to clinical sensitivity.
NIOSH-Author; Dust-exposure; Detergent-enzymes; Skin-exposure; Allergic-reactions; Contact-allergies; Worker-health; Air-sampling; Lung-function; Immunological-tests; Detergent-industry
Issue of Publication
Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division