BREAD and cake makers in the district have been given a health warning.
There are more than 15 independent artisan bakers and other small businesses, which handle flour dust and enzymes contained in flour improvers – both of which are classified as hazardous substances.
When inhaled as an airborne dust, they can affect the health of employees working in bakeries and other businesses which handle flour, such as pizza restaurants.
Flour dust is the second largest cause of occupational asthma in the UK and may also provoke asthmatic attacks in those with pre-existing asthma.
Symptoms to look out for include a runny nose, runny eyes, wheezing and shortness of breath, sneezing or cough. These symptoms should be reported to your employer or line manager as soon as possible.
It has prompted Warwick District Council to send out an advice leaflet outlining simple control measures such as wearing protective equipment to reduce the level of airborne flour dust within the workplace.
District health spokesman Andrew Thompson said: “Across Warwick district we have some fantastic independent artisan bakeries, and some great pizza restaurants, where staff are making some wonderful food out of flour.
“With flour dust potentially the cause of health problems such as asthma, our health and safety team have produced a helpful leaflet to help these businesses out in making sure they are not exposing their employees to unnecessary risks.
“Whilst many of us use flour on a weekly basis for our own home-baking and cooking without any bother, we want to help businesses make sure that those people in our District working with larger quantities of flour, which could become airborne, are not having adverse health impacts, and we hope that this leaflet is useful in that regard.”