[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This study describes exposure levels of bakery and pastry apprentices to flour dust, a known risk factor of occupational asthma.
Questionnaires on work activity were completed by 286 students. Among them, 34 performed a series of two personal exposure measurements using a PM2.5 and PM10 personal sampler during a complete work shift, one during a cold ("winter") period, and the other during a hot ("summer") period.
Bakery apprentices experience greater average PM2.5 and PM10 exposures than pastry apprentices (p < 0.006). Exposure values for both particulate fractions are greater in winter (average PM10 values among bakers = 1.10 mg.m-3 [standard deviation: 0.83]) than in summer (0.63 mg.m-3 [0.36]). While complying with current European occupational limit values, these exposures exceed the ACGIH recommendations set to prevent sensitization to flour dust (0.5 mg.m-3). Over half the facilities had no ventilation system.
Young bakery apprentices incur substantial exposure to known airways allergens, a situation that might elicit early induction of airways inflammation.