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Expert Concerned By Flour Asthma ‘Under-Reporting’

Parliamentary Question Puts Spotlight On Workplace Illness


A clearer picture needs to be provided regarding the number of people in the baking industry who suffer from flour-related asthma, an industrial illness expert at Irwin Mitchell has demanded.

The call has come after a parliamentary question to employment minister Chris Grayling revealed it is estimated, according to reports by several bodies, that 18 cases of occupational asthma linked to flour are recorded every year.

However, Mr Grayling added that such figures are “subject to under-reporting” with other sources hinting that instances could be up to ten times higher.

Workplace illness specialists at Irwin Mitchell provide support to a number of people whose lives have been turned upside down as a result of occupational asthma and other problems.

Mark Allen, an industrial illness expert and associate director at the firm, said such suggestions are massively concerning.

He outlined: “Accurate data related to any workplace illness or injury can be a vital tool in assessing whether safety standards are improving and if businesses are doing everything they can to protect workers from potential harm.

“It is a major worry if a government minister is suggesting that statistics in relation to flour-related asthma are inaccurate, as this means the scale of the problem is still not apparent.

“I hope that more can be done to improve awareness of problems such as flour-related asthma in workplaces, while it is vital that reassurances are provided that the quality of data produced on the topic is rising.”