Acute symptoms following exposure to grain dust in farming

Environ Health Perspect. 1986 Apr;66:73-80. doi: 10.1289/ehp.866673.


History of acute symptoms (cough, wheezing, shortness of breath, fever, stuffy nose, and skin itching/rash) following exposure to grain dust was obtained from 661 male and 535 female current and former farmers. These symptoms were relatively common: 60% of male and 25% of female farmers reported at least one such symptom on exposure to grain dust. Association of cough, wheezing, shortness of breath, and stuffy nose with skin reactivity and capacity to form IgE is consistent with an allergic nature of these symptoms. Barley and oats dust were perceived as dust most often producing symptoms. On the other hand, grain fever showed a different pattern, i.e., it was not associated with either skin reactivity or total IgE. Smoking might modify the susceptibility to react to grain dust with symptoms. Only those who reported wheezing on exposure to grain dust may have an increased risk to develop chronic airflow obstruction.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Dust / adverse effects*
  • Edible Grain / adverse effects*
  • Epidemiologic Methods
  • Farmer's Lung / epidemiology
  • Farmer's Lung / etiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin E / analysis
  • Male
  • Manitoba
  • Middle Aged
  • Respiratory Function Tests
  • Skin Tests
  • Smoking


  • Dust
  • Immunoglobulin E