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Work related symptoms, sensitisation, and estimated exposure in workers not previously exposed to flour.

Cullinan P; Lowson D; Nieuwenhuijsen MJ; Sandiford C; Tee RD; Venables KM; McDonald JC; Taylor-AJ Newman
Occup Environ Med 1994 Sep; 51(9):579-583
A longitudinal study of a group of workers at high risk of occupational asthma was undertaken in an effort to study the relation between sensitization or allergic symptoms and exposure to aeroallergens. The workers studied were employed in the bakery industry and three large modern British bakeries, a flour packing factory, and three mills where wheat was milled and flour packed. Several symptoms were reported by questionnaire including chest tightness, wheeze or difficulty in breathing, itching of the eyes or nose, running or blockage of the nose or sneezing, and itchy skin rash. Forty six (14%) of the employees reported work related chest symptoms, 92 (29%) eye/nose symptoms, and 27 (9%) skin symptoms. Positive skin tests to mixed flour were recorded in 17 (5%) subjects and to alpha-amylase in 18 (5%). Fifty eight (17%) had a positive test to L-destructor. The frequency of new work related symptoms tended to increase with intensity of exposure at the time of the survey. Workers with new work related chest or skin symptoms were more likely to have moved between exposure intensity categories during employment at the site than those without new work related symptoms of any sort. Most subjects with positive skin tests to specific antigens reported no symptoms. All new work related symptoms were more common among smokers but there was little difference between atopic and nonatopic subjects. Atopy was significantly and independently associated with a positive response to each of the three specific allergens, but not with any new work related symptom. Smoking was not independently related to either symptoms or to a positive skin test.
Bakery-workers; Plant-dusts; Allergic-reactions; Airborne-dusts; Respiratory-system-disorders; Lung-irritants; Milling-industry; Skin-exposure; Bronchial-asthma; Occupational-exposure
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Journal Article
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Cooperative Agreement
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Source Name
Occupational and Environmental Medicine
Performing Organization
University of California - Davis
Page last reviewed: May 6, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division