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Nasal Air Sampling for Measuring Inhaled Wheat Allergen in Bakeries With and Without Facemask Use

Renström, Anne PhD; Mattsson, Marie-Louise MSc; Blidberg, Kristin MSc; Doekes, Gert PhD; Bogdanovic, Jelena MSc; Tovey, Euan PhD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: September 2006 - Volume 48 - Issue 9 - p 948-954
doi: 10.1097/01.jom.0000232533.04238.3e
Original Articles

Objective: Occupational asthma caused by flour is common in bakers. We applied novel intranasal air samplers (INAS) to assess wheat allergen exposure and evaluate respiratory protection in bakeries.

Methods: Two models of INAS (INAS-M1 and INAS-M2) were compared with simultaneous personal air sampling of inhalable dust, both with and without facemasks. Wheat allergen levels were measured using a sensitive sandwich enzyme immunoassay. Allergenic particles were immunostained for microscopic visualization.

Results: Personal air sampling correlated well with INAS-M1 (r = 0.89) and INAS-M2 (r = 0.75). INAS-M2 collected particles more effectively than INAS-M1. Facemasks reduced inhalation of wheat allergen by 96% and 93% measured using INAS-M1 and INAS-M2, respectively.

Conclusions: Nasal air sampling can complement personal air sampling to measure short-term exposure and evaluate respiratory protection. To prevent baker's asthma, facemasks may be an effective solution in addition to improving workplaces.

From the Lung and Allergy Research (Dr Renström, Ms Mattsson, Ms Blidberg), Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet (KI), Stockholm, Sweden; the Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences (IRAS) (Dr Dockes, Ms Bogdanovic), University Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands; and Woolcock Institute of Medical Research (WIMR) (Dr Tovey), University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia.

Address correspondence to: Anne Renström, PhD, Associate Professor, Lung and Allergy Research, Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Box 287, 171 77 Stockholm, Sweden. E-mail:

©2006The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine