Inhalable Flour Dust Assessment – Providing Resources to Food Manufacturers

Insight IH Consulting is very experienced in inhalable flour dust assessment. We have performed measurements at dozens of facilities where utilizing flour as an ingredient. These facilities include mills, bakeries, and food manufacturing facilities.


Flour is an extremely common ingredient in many food products. Flour is a primary ingredient in the production of bread, cereal, pretzels, and many other commonly found items in any supermarket. Additionally, it also is a prominent ingredient in the breading and batter used in the manufacture of chicken/pork/beef patties, potato-based products, and snack foods. The inhalation of airborne concentrations of wheat and cereal flour are known causes of Baker’s Asthma. This condition typically afflicts bakers and grain millers who handle these flours. Baker’s Asthma is cited as one of the most frequent occupational respiratory disorders.

Additional Information, Links

Some helpful additional resources include the following:
1. Evaluation of Sensitization and Exposure to Flour Dust, Spices, and Other Ingredients Among Poultry Breading Workers (CDC)
2. Exposure to Flour Dust and Sensitization Among Bakery Employees (CDC)

Compliance determination for the ACGIH TLV involves inhalable dust samplers. Total dust methods are inadequate (for further details, please see the Insight article, “Industrial Hygiene Misconceptions #1 – The Misnomer of “Total Dust”.

Assessment Methodology

Federal OSHA has established a total dust limit for grain dust (10 mg/m3). However, this limit does not reflect current scientific thinking. Recent studies have determined this limit is not sufficiently protective against the effects of breathing flour dust over a lifetime. Therefore, the American Congress of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) has established an inhalable limit of 0.5 mg/m3. The preferred media to measure against this limit is an inhalable dust sampler (or IOM). We have also deployed real-time aerosol monitors in the evaluation of inhalable flour dust. While these devices are not without flaws (they cannot measure particulate larger than 30 microns effectively), the information they provide is still quite useful in determining sources of smaller fraction dust.

Insight IH Consulting has extensive experience in assessments for inhalable flour dust.

Contact us for assistance today!