Occupational Asthma Reference

Sripaiboonkij P, Phanprasit W, Jaakkola MS, Respiratory effects of occupational exposures in a milk powder factory, Eur Respir J, 2008;31:807-814,

Keywords: enzyme,Thailand

Known Authors

Maritta Jaakkola, Oulu University Finland Maritta Jaakkola

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Ingestion of milk powder is a known cause of allergies in children, but the risks to respiratory health from exposure to inhaled milk powder have not been studied previously. The aim of the present study was to assess the effects of occupational exposures in a milk powder factory on respiratory symptoms and lung function.

A cross-sectional study was conducted on 167 milk powder factory workers (response rate 77%) and 76 office workers (73%) from four factories in Thailand. All participants answered a questionnaire and performed spirometry. Measurements of concentrations of dust were used to give additional information on exposures.

Mean respirable dust concentrations in the factory were 0.02–2.18 mg·m–3. The risk of breathlessness and nasal symptoms were significantly increased in production and packing staff. The risk of skin symptoms was significantly increased in those adding vitamin mixture to milk powder. Factory workers showed significantly lower forced expiratory volume in one second measured as percentage of predicted value.

The present study provides new evidence that workers exposed to milk powder by inhalation are at an increased risk of nasal symptoms, wheezing and breathlessness, and exhibit reduced spirometric lung function, even at relatively low air concentrations of milk dust.

Full Text


The unspecified enzymes were added to the milk powder and may have been the cause of the symptoms

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