What is Soybean dust?

What caused Soybean dust?

There are still conflicting reports coming out from official quarters regarding the killing of 14 people as the result of toxic gas leakage in Keamari area of Karachi. But one thing is confirmed that the 14 innocent people have lost their lives as the result of toxic gas in that area. The concerned departments are still investigating the cause of these deaths. The KPT has denied any leakage from port area. More than 200 people have been hospitalised or treated for breathing problems since Sunday after many patients complained of an unfamiliar odour.

On Wednesday- Sindh health department issued an advisory based on the preliminary report submitted by the International Centre for Chemical and Biological Sciences (ICCBS) at the Karachi University on Tuesday, which concluded that Keamari gas incident was happened due to “overexposure of soybean dust”.
The health department in an official document has said that the findings of the ICCBS have suggested that the symptoms being experienced by Keamari residents are a result of “overexposure to soybean dust”.
According to the ICCBS report, which was based on the blood and urine samples of the affected people, said soybean dust related epidemics have already been reported earlier in different parts of the world associated with “morbidity and mortality”.

The experts had also collected soybean dust samples from the port area, according to the ICCBS report. The provincial health department has directed authorities concerned to take necessary steps including training of staff to deal with the cases of soybean dust allergy. It also said that the allergic reaction to soybean can be “frightening and even life-threatening”.
It added: “Signs and symptoms of a food allergy usually develop within a few minutes to hours after exposing to an allergen…. A severe allergic reaction is most likely to occur in people who have asthma or are allergic to other foods, such as peanuts.”

Soybean dust is generally caused by unloading of soybean grains in bulk and can potentially trigger respiratory and other problems in people, particularly those who have pre-existing health conditions or exhibit sensitivity.
According to a study under US National Center for Biotechnology Information, the major allergen is found in all parts of the plant, but is highly concentrated in hulls and pods.
Soybean is also a food allergen as it can cause Type 1 allergy (IGE-mediated) by simple oral ingestion, but it is also an aeroallergen due to its dust. An aeroallergen is a substance in the air such as a chemical, particle, pollen, spores, non-biological airborne particle which can trigger allergy.
Meanwhile, Type 1 allergy, commonly known as immediate hypersensitivity, is caused by re-exposure to a specific kind of allergen.

The common symptoms of allergy include breaking out on skin, hives, respiratory issues and in worst cases can lead to Anaphylaxis, which can be fatal.
Anaphylaxis is the most extreme form of allergic reaction, which shows symptoms such as dry throat, swelling, shortness of breath, low blood pressure and dizziness etc. The allergic reaction, which can span from minutes to hours, can prove potentially fatal.
The immune system releases histamine upon coming in contact with the allergen and the primary allergic responses include runny nose, irritation in throat, eyes, nausea, abdominal pain, and shortness of breath.
The symptoms can be exacerbated by pre-existing health conditions such as asthma and history of allergic rhinitis.
A common way to find out whether it was an allergic reaction is to perform a blood test, which can reveal the amount of a certain kind of antibodies in the blood.
Over the counter anti-histamines and anti-allergy medications can prove useful at an earlier stage, however, a doctor should be immediately approached in case of severe symptoms.
The provincial health department also advised citizens with asthma to wear masks, wash hands, eyes and face with water, drink ample amount of water, and rush to the hospital in case of if any symptom appear.
                                                          Rukhsana Manzoor deputy editor

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