Huntington Beach, CA, October 26th, 2021
Crushed wheat and other cereal grains are a staple food for many people. In fact, flour is a major component of countless foods that feed much of the world’s population. With all the benefits flour has brought to society, one concern for those who are regularly exposed to flour dust by inhalation is baker’s asthma.
Baker’s asthma is a form of work-related asthma that can be caused by, or exacerbated by, exposure to respirable flour dust. The most effective way to protect workers from flour dust is to eliminate the source of exposure, but this is not always possible or practical. Some of the basic steps that can be taken to mitigate exposure risks to flour dust include:
- Engineering controls such as ventilation and local exhaust ventilation systems.
- Administrative controls like educating workers, instituting a medical surveillance program, providing regular worksite monitoring, work practice modifications, and even changes to cleaning procedures can help to minimize dust creation and exposure risks.
- Ensuring the use of personal protective equipment (PPE), such as respirators and other appropriate gear, if needed.
“Throughout California, there are an untold number of workers in bakeries and other occupations that handle, process, or use flour for one purpose or another on a daily basis,” said Joseph Frasca, Senior Vice President of Marketing at LA Testing. “Any of these individuals could be at risk of developing eye and respiratory irritation, allergies, or baker’s asthma if they are exposed to flour dust over time. Even skin contact with flour dust can cause dermatitis in some workers. One other possible health and safety concern associated with aerosolized flour dust is the potential for a combustible dust explosion that could occur under certain confined space conditions.”
The scientists at LA Testing’s California laboratories identify respirable irritants, allergens, and asthma triggers, as well as potential combustible dust hazards, by analyzing air and dust samples. They also provide access to air monitoring instruments to measure particulate matter (PM) and other airborne concerns. LA Testing has even sponsored an educational video about baker’s asthma and occupational exposure to flour dust that can be seen at: https://youtu.be/FHcAypJJUFA.
To learn more about this or other industrial hygiene and environmental testing services, or for access to air monitoring instruments and personal protective equipment (PPE), please visit www.LATesting.com, email info@LATesting.com, or call (800) 755-1794.
About LA Testing
LA Testing is California’s leading laboratory for indoor air quality testing of asbestos, mold, lead, VOCs, formaldehyde, soot, char, ash, and smoke damage, particulates, and other chemicals. In addition, LA Testing offers a full range of air sampling and investigative equipment to professionals and the public. LA Testing maintains an extensive list of accreditations including: AIHA-LAP, LLC (AIHA-LAP, LLC EMLAP, AIHA-LAP, LLC IHLAP, AIHA-LAP, LLC ELLAP), CDC ELITE, NVLAP, State of California, State of Hawaii Department of Health, and other states. LA Testing, along with the EMSL Analytical, Inc. network, has multiple laboratories throughout California including South Pasadena, Huntington Beach, San Leandro, San Diego, and Ontario.