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Working at a bakery and inhaling gluten- am I screwed?

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  • Working at a bakery and inhaling gluten- am I screwed?

    I have been eating primally about 100% for about 6 weeks now, and haven't "cheated" with anything glutenous. However, I just took a part-time job at a bakery that my cousin works at because it's convenient to get to and I am having a hard time finding anything else. I work at the counter putting pastries and cookies into boxes for customers, cutting bread, and making cookie trays. The actual baking occurs in the room behind the counter in the morning a few hours before I work. I'm planning on working here until I find something better, hopefully within the next few months.

    I'm sure that I am inhaling some flour particles that are floating around during my 8 hour shifts, and possibly touching some glutenous foods as well. I have digestive problems, acne and weird thyroid/adrenal-ish symptoms (slow healing, dry + thin skin, stretch marks, low energy, hair/eyebrow/lash loss etc.) that are undiagnosed from long before I started this job, and am concerned that the accidental gluten exposure could affect my health or hinder my already slow recovery while eating primally.

    I don't think I have celiac disease or true gluten intolerance, as prior to eating primally I had tried cutting gluten entirely for two months with no improvement in my health, then ate some gluten for a while with no increase in problems. I also got blood-tested for celiac a few years ago and it was negative.

    How dangerous is this type of exposure to someone whose health is sub-par but doesn't react severely to ingested gluten? Any info would be greatly appreciated, thanks!

    (I'm also dealing with some serious cognitive dissonance regarding giving people trays of hundreds of cookies and boxes packed with Oreo mousse cake and eclairs, but that's another story. )
    * Pixy's Quest for Regaining Health *
    Trying to gain weight, clear scarring acne, and fix thyroid and digestive issues with primal lifestyle- here goes something!

  • #2
    I would be screwed but I have celiac.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by QuirkyPixy View Post
      I don't think I have celiac disease or true gluten intolerance, as prior to eating primally I had tried cutting gluten entirely for two months with no improvement in my health, then ate some gluten for a while with no increase in problems. I also got blood-tested for celiac a few years ago and it was negative.
      Seems like you answered your own question, right here. It's wheat flour, not anthrax.

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      • #4
        Stop overreacting - you're obviously paranoid!

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        • #5
          I am convinced that I have problems just walking down the bread aisle or when someone is making toast.
          Ancestral Health Info

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          • #6
            Originally posted by QuirkyPixy View Post
            I'm sure that I am inhaling some flour particles that are floating around during my 8 hour shifts, and possibly touching some glutenous foods as well.
            Well, you said you weren't actually doing the doing the baking.

            Baker's asthama is a recognized occupational disorder. See Professor Cordain's paper "Cereal Grains: Humanity's Double Edged sword, p. 44. Of course, any fine powder can be problematic for health, but it seems there's more to it than that:

            The inhalation of cereal flours is the cause of baker’s asthma, an occupational allergy with a high prevalence in the baking industry [194]. Baker’s asthma is mediated by IgE antibodies, and until recently the identification of the IgE binding proteins (allergens) in the putative cereal flours was unknown. Over the past decade, it has been conclusively demonstrated that a variety of alpha-amylase inhibitor proteins are responsible for bakers’ allergenic reaction to cereal flours [194, 195]. Fur- ther, alpha-amylase inhibitors recently have been demonstrated to be a relevant allergen in children experiencing hypersensitivity reactions following wheat ingestion [196].
            So there you go. There is a definite connection between baker's asthma and enzyme inhibitors.

            Link:

            http://www.direct-ms.org/pdf/Evoluti...al%20Sword.pdf

            Maybe try googling something like "flour inhalation" if you really want to worry yourself.

            On the other hand, you're not actually the baker, and presumably not even every baker gets it - there's just a "high prevalence" of it.

            I don't mean to say you're making something of nothing, but I wouldn't worry about it, which will make you feel bad in itself. You could be working around more dangerous substances - asbestos, for example. And as for the ethical dilemma - you could be selling people more dangerous things than baked goods - illegal drugs for example ... or legal ones like statins for the matter of that.

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            • #7
              What are you gonna do if it does turn out to be non-paleo?
              Quit the job? I mean, why does it matter, ya know?

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              • #8
                Originally posted by shadgal View Post
                Stop overreacting - you're obviously paranoid!
                That is so rude and uncalled for!! I'm sure if you had the health issues described you'd be concerned too! God- some people! A little politeness goes a long way.

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                • #9
                  honestly when i worked @ a pizza shop i got pretty ill. i was short of breath, coughing, numbness in my fingers and a bit foggy headed. also got a weird rash that wouldn't quit on my fingers. these symptoms didn't go away until i finally quit the darn place. be careful and if it's affecting you then QUIT! not worth it.
                  Red meat is not bad for you. Now blue-green meat, that's bad for you! ~Tommy Smothers

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                  • #10
                    I guess I'm just wondering if long-term, possibly frequent exposure to low levels of gluten can lead to or exacerbate health problems in non-celiacs. I may be paranoid, but I'm tired of feeling like crap and don't want to take any chances of accidentally hindering the healing process. If it turns out to be problematic, I'd rather quit and be poor for now than screw up my health to the point where I can't work at all.

                    @ Hedonist: Are you Celiac or gluten intolerant?

                    @ Lewis: I'm not baking the stuff, but the bakery is right behind the counter I work at, through an open door, and I have to go in there a lot to cut bread as well. The flour probably doesn't settle down for a while after the bakers use it, and that's what concerns me. I'm not really worried about getting baker's asthma as much as I'm worried about it affecting my pre-existing health conditions. Thanks for the info, though!

                    @shannon: Were you eating or making the pizza, or just working there doing something else?

                    Thanks again everyone!
                    * Pixy's Quest for Regaining Health *
                    Trying to gain weight, clear scarring acne, and fix thyroid and digestive issues with primal lifestyle- here goes something!

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                    • #11
                      i didn't eat the pizza lol! i was making dough and prepping the pizzas
                      Red meat is not bad for you. Now blue-green meat, that's bad for you! ~Tommy Smothers

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                      • #12
                        Sorry QuirkyPixy and SAQ - I should've kept my mouth shut/fingers still.
                        If you are at all worried and your instinct says it isn't right for you then maybe see if you can move away from the bakery.

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                        • #13
                          If you are not celiac, you should be fine.

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