Occupational Asthma Reference

Steger A, Radon K, Pethran A, Novak D, Sensitisation and lung function in workers occupationally exposed to natural thickening products, Allergy, 2000;55:376-381,


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Dennis Nowak, Institute fur Arbeits, Munich Dennis Nowak

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Three workers engaged in the manufacture of natural thickener products (Cassia spp., guar, and tamarind flour) were occupationally sensitized to Cassia spp. Therefore, a cross-sectional study on the prevalence of sensitization among and respiratory health of the employees of this plant was conducted.

Methods and Results
Sixty-two workers (36 with high, 26 with low exposure) participated in the survey. Skin prick tests and specific IgE tests with extracts of these components revealed that 11.3% were sensitized to Cassia spp. and 9.7% to at least one species of storage mites, with a significantly higher portion of atopic subjects in the sensitized group. Overall, 55% of the subjects reported work-related symptoms (upper and lower airways, eyes, or skin). FVC % pred. was signifcantly lower in highly exposed workers, while RV % pred. and RV%TLC % pred. were significantly higher in this group. In the multivariate model, sensitization was not a risk factor for impairment of lung function.

Dust exposure to flours may not only cause allergic sensitization but also induce chronic changes in lung function.

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Skin prick tests to tamarind negative

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