Analysis of peanut bulk samples and air-conditioner dust in the initial peanut season and area and PBZ air samples in the following season provides evidence that peanut inspectors are at risk of exposure to airborne endotoxin during routine operations in peanut grading rooms. Although airborne endotoxin concentrations in grading rooms can vary between seasons, crops, and locations, air samples collected in the grading room indicate that exposure to airborne endotoxin may exceed levels that have been associated with symptoms of cough, wheeze, shortness of breath, chest tightness, mucous membrane irritation, and signs of acute airflow obstruction. The acute respiratory and flu-like symptoms reported in the initial site visit by peanut inspectors and the associated medical findings are consistent with endotoxin exposure. However, the persistence of symptoms reported by some employees after being removed from exposure does not fit with recognized endotoxin- or mycotoxin-related illness. We suspect that this may have resulted from "take-home" contamination (i.e., endotoxin in peanut dust that was carried home on employees' clothing) and may have resulted in continued exposure to endotoxin while away from work. In addition, some employees may have been more susceptible to pulmonary and skin disorders or had co-existing pulmonary or skin disease.
Skin-diseases; Skin-disorders; Skin-irritants; Respiratory-irritants; Respiratory-system-disorders; Pulmonary-system-disorders; Endotoxins; Respirable-dust; Eye-irritants; Gastrointestinal-system-disorders; Microorganisms; Fungi; Pesticides; Pesticides-and-agricultural-chemicals; Insecticides; Dusts; Food-handlers; Food-processing; Food-processing-workers; Ventilation; Personal-protection; Personal-protective-equipment; Protective-equipment; Respiratory-protective-equipment; Respiratory-protection; Organic-dusts;
Author Keywords: HETA 2008-0052-3115