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Airborne flour in the workplace

February 01, 2011


I have celiac disease and work in a factory that uses thousands of pounds of flour a day. I was told by one dietitian that I needed to quit my job because it is unsafe and another try to wear a mask. Fact of the matter is even though I am gluten-free I still get sick, miss work for a while, feel better and go back to work, only to get sick again. I feel wonderful right now because I have been off work for a couple months and really do not want to go back and feel like that again. Any thoughts on this?




Hi Kerri. I am sorry you have spent so much time out of work due to illness. It is definitely a risk having celiac disease and working in a factory using such a large quantity of flour. However, I hesitate to recommend that you quit your job because in this economy, it may be difficult to find a new job. I do recommend that until you can find a new place of work, take every precaution possible to keep yourself from being exposed to airborne flour or ingesting flour. Wearing a mask is a good idea, but it should be a mask where no tiny particles of flour can be inhaled. Alternatively, ask your workplace to place you in a position that is not near the flour processing facility, perhaps in an office away from the flour or at a different location.


Nancy Dickens, MS, RD, LDN