Soya is an important bulk agricultural product often transported by sea as chipped beans and/or the bean husks after pelletisation. There are proven allergens in both forms. Bulk handling of soya imports can generate air pollution containing dust, allergens, and pyrogens, posing health risks to dockside workers and surrounding populations. Using an International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standardised rotating drum dustiness test in seven imported soya bulks, we compared the generated levels of dust and two major soya allergens in three particle sizes related to respiratory health. Extractable levels of allergen and endotoxin from the bulks showed 30–60 fold differences, with levels of one allergen (hydrophobic seed protein) and endotoxin higher in husk. The generated levels of dust and allergens in the three particle sizes also showed very wide variations between bulks, with aerolysed levels of allergen influenced by both the inherent dustiness and the extractable allergen in each bulk. Percentage allergen aerolysed from pelletized husk—often assumed to be of low dustiness—after transportation was not lower than that from chipped beans. Thus, not all soya bulks pose the same inhalation health risk and reinforces the importance of controlling dust generation from handling all soya bulk to as low as reasonably practicable.
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