Daily changes of peak expiratory flow and respiratory symptom occurrence around a soy processing factory
More details
Hide details
Utrecht University, Institute for Risk Assesment Sciences, Division of Environmental Epidemiology, Utrecht, The Netherlands
Municipal Health Service, Amsterdam, Utrecht, The Netherlands
Ann Agric Environ Med. 2014;21(1):5–10
To evaluate sensitization and acute respiratory health effects in inhabitants living in the vicinity of a factory producing soy oil.

Two panels of potential responders were created on the basis of a response to a short screening questionnaire sent to random samples of 1,000 exposed and 1,000 non-exposed individuals living around the factory and a control area. Individuals responding to the questionnaire were invited for a medical evaluation, including a respiratory symptom questionnaire and skin prick testing, for a panel of common allergens and a soy allergen extract. This resulted in 53 atopic and/or asthmatic inhabitants from the area surrounding the factory and 30 comparable control subjects. In these subjects, morning and evening Peak Expiratory Flow (PEF), respiratory symptoms and medication use were recorded daily during a 10-week period in the autumn. At the same time, soy allergen and endotoxin concentrations were determined in airborne dust in the exposed and the control area. The wind direction relative to the location of a subjects’ house and the factory was used to determine whether an individual was exposed on a particular day.

Only few of the atopic subjects were sensitized to soy. PEF showed a decrease, respiratory symptoms and bronchodilator use, an increase among soy sensitized subjects after having been downwind from the factory. Airborne soy allergen was found more frequently in the area surrounding the factory and levels were higher than in the control area. Highest levels were found on the factory premises. Only a weak association was found with wind direction. Airborne endotoxin concentrations did not show a consistent pattern with distance, but levels were clearly higher on the factory premises.

Sensitization to soy allergen was not increased among the population sample living in the vicinity of the factory. Soy sensitized individuals living in the surroundings of the factory reported more respiratory symptoms, used bronchodilators more often and had a lower PEF after having been downwind of the factory.

Figley KD, RH Elrod. Endemic asthma due to castor bean dust J Am Med Ass. 1928; 90: 79–82.
Ordman D. An outbreak of bronchial asthma in South Africa, affecting more than 200 persons caused by castor bean dust from an oil processing factory. Int Arch Allergy. 1955; 7: 10–24.
Mendes E, Cintra AU. Collective asthma, simulating an epidemic provoked by castor-bean dust. J Allergy. 1954; 25: 253–259.
Zuskin E, B Kanceljak, EN Schachter, TJ Witek jr, Z Marom, S Goswami, S Maayani. Immuonological and respiratory changes in soy bean workers. Int Arch Occup Environ Health. 1991; 63: 15–20.
Roodt L, D Rees. Tests for sensitisation in occupational medicine practice – the soy bean example. S Afr Med J. 1995; 85(6): 522–525.
Maria Y, DA Moneret-Vautrin, QT Pham, D Teculescu, O. Bouchy, N Chan, C Lamaze, E Adrian, P Tagu. Sensibilisation cutanee aux allergenes “respiratoires” chez les exploitants et salaries agricoles. Rev Mal Respir. 1991; 8(5): 463–471 (in French).
Wüthrich B, X Baur. Backmittel, insbesondere alpha amylase, als berufliche Inhalationsallergene in de Backwarenindustrie. Schweiz Med Wschr. 1990; 120: 446–450 (in German).
Baur X, Degens PO, Sander I. Baker‘s asthma: still among the most frequent occupational respiratory disorders. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 1998; 106; 984–997.
Anto JM, Sunyer J, Rodriguez-Roisin R, Suarez-Cervera M, Vazquez L. Community outbreaks of asthma associated with inhalation of soybean dust. N Engl J Med. 1989; 320: 1097–1102.
Anto JM, Sunyer J, Reed CE, Sabrià J, Martinez F, Morrel F, Codina R, Rodriguez-Roisin R, Rodrigo MJ, Roca J, Saez M. Preventing asthma epidemics due to soybeans by dust-control measures. N Engl J Med. 1993; 329: 1760–1763.
Alvarez-Dardet CJ, Belda M, Nolasco PA. Outbreak of asthma associated with soybean dust. N Engl J Med. 1991; 322: 1127–1128.
Navarro C, Marquez M, Hernando L, Galvan F, Zapatero L, Caravaca F. Epidemic asthma in Cartagena, Spain and its association with soybean sensitivity. Epidemiology. 1993; 4: 76–79.
Douwes JD, Versloot P, Hollander A, Heederik D. Influence of various dust sampling and extraction methods on the measurement of airborne endotoxin. Appl Environ Microbiol. 1995; 61 (5): 1763–1769.
Hollander A, Heederik D, Versloot P, Douwes J. Inhibition and enhancement in the analysis of airborne endotoxin levels in various occupational environments. Am Ind Hyg Assoc J. 1993; 54: 647–653.
Hollander A, Heederik D, Pothuis J. Quantification of antigenic aerosol levels in the potato starch producing industry. Ann Occup Hyg. 1994; 38: 911–918.
Smid T, Heederik D, Houba R, Quanjer PH. Dust- and endotoxin related acute lung function changes and work-related symptoms in workers in the animal feed industry. Am J Ind Med. 1994; 25: 877–888.
Flannigan B, McCabe EM, McGarry F. Allergenic and toxigenic micro-organisms in houses. J Appl Bacteriol. 1991; 70: 61s-73s.
Heath Council of the Netherlands. Criteria document endotoxins. The Hague (access: 03-01-2012).