Objective: Lactic acid bacteria (LAB) are used in food industries as probiotic agents. The aim of this study is to assess the potential health effects of airborne exposure to a mix of preblend (LAB and carbohydrate) and milk powder in workers.
Methods: A medical questionnaire, lung function tests, and immunologic tests were carried out on 50 workers. Occupational exposure to inhalable dust and airborne LAB was measured.
Results: Workers not using respiratory masks reported more symptoms of irritation than workers using protection. Workers from areas with higher levels of airborne LAB reported the most health symptoms and the immune responses of workers to LAB was higher than the immune responses of a control population.
Conclusions: Measures to reduce exposure to airborne LAB and milk powder in food industries are recommended.