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Effect of an intervention aimed at reducing the risk of allergic respiratory disease in bakers: change in flour dust and fungal alpha-amylase levels
  1. Tim Meijster (tim.meijster{at}
  1. TNO Quality of Life, Netherlands
    1. Erik Tielemans (erik.tielemans{at}
    1. TNO Quality of Life, Netherlands
      1. Dick J J Heederik (d.heederik{at}
      1. University of Utrecht, Netherlands


        Introduction: We evaluated the effect on exposure of an intervention program, which focussed on risk education and providing information on good work practices. This intervention program was enrolled as part of a Dutch covenant in the flour processing industry (industrial bakeries, flour mills, ingredient producers).

        Methods: Data from several measurement surveys collected pre- and post-intervention were used to evaluate changes in exposure over time. All datasets contained personal measurements analysed for flour dust and fungal α-amylase contents and contextual information was available on process characteristics, work practice, and use of control measures.

        Results: Changes in exposure over time varied substantially between sectors and jobs. For bakeries a modest downward annual trend of -2% was found for flour dust and -8% for amylase. For flour mills the annual trend for flour dust was -12%, no significant trend was observed for amylase. For ingredient producers results were generally non significant but indicated a reduction in flour dust exposure and increase in fungal α-amylase exposure. Modest increase in use of control measures and proper work practices were reported in most sectors, especially the use of LEV and decreased use of compressed air.

        Conclusions: The magnitude of the observed reductions in exposure levels indicate that the sector-wide intervention strategy implemented during the covenant period had a limited overall effect. This indicates that a more rigorous approach is needed to substantially decrease the exposure levels to flour dust and related allergens and respectively the prevalence of associated occupational diseases.

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