The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Flour dust allergy.

Doughboy76's picture
Doughboy76

Flour dust allergy.

Ive been a professional baker for 28 years and am passionate about my job. However I today suffered an asthma attack due to using rye flour, which I fortunately have hardly ever used. But today I started a new job knowing that there would be some rye flour usage so wore a disposable dust mask to help protect me. Unfortunatey it didn't work and I was very unwell and quite scared. I was wondering if anyone has similar issues with flour and can recommend a good fool proof mask. Otherwise I may need to leave the job. Thanks in advance.

idaveindy's picture
idaveindy

N95 masks have been in the news. 

There are also N99, more expensive.

I don't know their cost or reusability.

You may need a reusable mask with replaceable filters, for lower long term cost.

In the US, consult with your state's Occupational Health dept of the state gov't, or your county/city's Health Dept.  Both those places are good sources of employee health and safety.

breadsmithmilt's picture
breadsmithmilt

I've been a professional baker even longer than you. I have had flour dust allergy issues from the very beginning, with rye flour being the worst. Not only asthma symptoms, but swollen eyes and a rash on my arms as well. When I was younger the doctor prescribed a strong antihistamine and told me to wear a dust mask. Through the years I've developed a tolerance to most the flour dust, with the exception of rye flour. To this day, when I know I'm going to be working with rye flour I take an over the counter antihistamine (Chlorpheniramine Maleate) at least an hour before and still wear a mask while I'm mixing. The trick is to take it early so it gets in your system before exposure and remember to keep wearing the mask for a while after you're done mixing because the flour dust is still in the air.