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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Failure of enzyme encapsulation to prevent sensitization of workers in the dry bleach industry.

BDE added to dry bleach have been associated with immunologic sensitization and development of clinical allergic disease in detergent workers and occasionally in consumers. However, improved dust control and modification of the manufacturing process through encapsulation of enzyme were believed to have reduced or eliminated these problems. To determine whether or not immunologic sensitization could still develop in the detergent industry, we studied employees of a dry bleach manufacturing plant that incorporated encapsulated BDE into a consumer product. We performed air sampling for enzyme dust and total particulates, administered questionnaires, conducted physical examinations, and spirometry in 13 currently exposed, two previously exposed and nine nonexposed, employees. To assess sensitization status, RAST and ELISA were performed. Air concentrations of enzyme dust ranged from 0.002 to 1.57 micrograms/m3; all of these levels were below the TLV of 3.9 micrograms/m3. Positive BDE-specific RAST results (3.4%, 4.4%, and 8.0% binding) were obtained in three of 12 currently exposed workers. Results of personal breathing-zone air sampling indicated that these workers had high dust-exposure levels. Specificity of RAST was verified by RAST inhibition with BDE. BDE-RAST binding was not significantly elevated in the nonworkers (range: 0.6% to 1.4% binding). Positive results for specific IgG by ELISA were obtained in four of 12 currently exposed and in one of two previously exposed workers but in none of the nonexposed workers. We conclude that immunologic sensitization can develop after occupational exposure to encapsulated BDE in the dry bleach industry. We have not proved, however, that this immunologic reactivity is related to clinical sensitivity.[1]


  1. Failure of enzyme encapsulation to prevent sensitization of workers in the dry bleach industry. Liss, G.M., Kominsky, J.R., Gallagher, J.S., Melius, J., Brooks, S.M., Bernstein, I.L. J. Allergy Clin. Immunol. (1984) [Pubmed]
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