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The 'take home' burden of workplace sensitizers: Flour contamination in bakers' families

Tagiyeva N, Marwanis Anua S, Semple S, Dick F & Devereux G (2012) The 'take home' burden of workplace sensitizers: Flour contamination in bakers' families. Environment International, 46, pp. 44-49.

Background: Exposure to flour/flour constituents is a leading cause of occupational asthma. Paternal occupational exposure to flour has been associated with increased likelihood of childhood asthma, raising the possibility of para-occupational exposure whereby family members are exposed to sensitizers 'taken home' on contaminated skin/clothing. Objective: To establish whether workplace contamination of skin/clothing with wheat flour allergen (WFA) and fungal α-amylase (FAA) is associated with increased levels of these allergens in bakers' homes. Methods: Bakeries in north-east Scotland were invited to participate. Control subjects were recruited from University of Aberdeen staff and students. Exposure assessment was carried out in bakeries, bakers' cars and the homes of bakers and controls using surface wipe and vacuum sampling; samples were analyzed for total protein, FAA and WFA. Results: 164 wipe samples and 49 vacuum samples were collected from 38 bakers (from 5 bakeries) and 10 controls. Compared to non-bakers, bakers had higher median levels of WFA and FAA in house vacuum samples; the difference was statistically significant for WFA/total protein (515.8×10-6 vs. 163.7×10-6, p=0.031), FAA/total protein ratios (1.45×10-6 vs. 0.04×10-6, p

Bakers; Wheat flour allergen; Fungal α-amylase; ‘Take-home’ exposure; Asthma

Environment International: Volume 46

Author(s)Tagiyeva, Nara; Marwanis Anua, Siti; Semple, Sean; Dick, Finlay; Devereux, Graham
FundersUniversity of Aberdeen and BUPA UK Foundation
Publication date31/10/2012
Publication date online13/06/2012
Date accepted by journal26/04/2012
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