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Occupational asthma among egg and meat processing workers.
Votaw AL; Newman MA; Boiano JM; Wallingford KM
Natl Provis 1989 Jul; :12-13
The problem of occupational asthma among egg and meat processing workers was discussed. The epidemiological aspects of occupational asthma in food processing workers were considered. Occupational asthma was not associated with the food processing industry until the 1970s when clusters of cases began appearing in British workers exposed to papain (9001734) or egg white and yolk dusts. Four instances of occupational asthma occurring in the United States (US) food processing industry between 1985 and 1987 resulted in requests for NIOSH to conduct health hazard evaluations. Evaluations conducted in one meat and three egg processing facilities showed that papain exposed workers in the meat processing factory had an occupational asthma prevalence of 12% while workers in the egg processing facilities had an asthma prevalence of 10%. When analyzed according to job category, the prevalences ranged up to 33%, the highest occurring in egg candlers. NIOSH has estimated that approximately 65000 US workers are potentially exposed to papain in the meat processing industry and 5000 are potentially exposed to egg related proteins in egg processing occupations. Recommendations for reducing exposure were discussed. These include utilizing engineering controls to prevent aerosolization of proteinaceous materials, improving housekeeping, removing asthmatic workers from exposure, and implementing an employee education program.
Epidemiology; Bronchial-asthma; Allergens; Food-processing-workers; Occupational-diseases; Occupational-exposure; Risk-analysis; Organic-dusts; Occupational-health;
Page last reviewed: February 25, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division