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Title: Work-related allergic respiratory disease and asthma in spice mill workers is associated with inhalant chili pepper and garlic exposures
Authors: Van der Walt, A 
Singh, T 
Baatjies, Roslynn 
Lopata, A 
Jeebhay, M 
Keywords: Chili pepper;Garlic;Inhalant allergy;Work-related
Issue Date: 2013
Abstract: OBJECTIVE: The aim of the study was to determine the prevalence and risk factors for allergic respiratory disease in spice mill workers. METHODS: A cross-sectional study of 150 workers used European Community Respiratory Health Survey questionnaires, Phadiatop, serum specific IgE (garlic, chili pepper), spirometry and fractional exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO). Personal air samples (n=62) collected from eight-hour shifts were analysed for inhalable particulate mass. Novel immunological assays quantified airborne garlic and chili pepper allergen concentrations. RESULTS: Mean dust particulate mass (geometric mean (GM)=2.06 mg/m(3)), chili pepper (GM=0.44 µg/m(3)) and garlic allergen (GM=0.24 µg/m(3)) were highest in blending and were highly correlated. Workers' mean age was 33 years, 71% were men, 46% current smokers and 45% atopic. Spice-dust-related asthma-like symptoms (17%) were common, as was garlic sensitisation (19%), with 13% being monosensitised and 6% cosensitised to chili pepper. Airflow reversibility and FeNO>50 ppb was present in 4% and 8% of workers respectively. Spice-dust-related ocular-nasal (OR 2.40, CI 1.09 to 5.27) and asthma-like (OR 4.15, CI 1.09 to 15.72) symptoms were strongly associated with airborne garlic in the highly exposed (>0.235 µg/m(3)) workers. Workers monosensitised to garlic were more likely to be exposed to higher airborne chili pepper (>0.92 µg/m(3)) (OR 11.52, CI 1.17 to 113.11) than garlic allergens (OR 5.08, CI 1.17 to 22.08) in this mill. Probable asthma was also more strongly associated with chili pepper than with garlic sensitisation. CONCLUSIONS: Exposure to inhalable spice dust (GM >2.06 mg/m(3)) containing garlic (GM>0.24 µg/m³) and chili pepper (GM >0.44 µg/m(3)) allergens increase the risk of allergic respiratory disease and asthma.
ISSN: 1351-0711
Appears in Collections:Appsc - Journal Articles (DHET subsidised)

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