In 1997, the New England Journal of Medicine published a medical report regarding farmers who had been diagnosed with nonresponsive celiac disease. This report demonstrates the idea that it is possible to experience celiac disease symptoms by inhaling gluten rather than only by eating it. There is also a considerable amount of anecdotal evidence showing that airborne gluten may cause symptoms, for those with celiac disease, as well as non-celiac gluten sensitivity.
In addition to the obvious sources such as kitchens and bakeries, according to the clinicians who processed the report, pet food may also pose a problem. Many brands of dry pet food contain gluten, and when poured out, it is possible to inhale some of those particles. You may also be exposed when your pet licks you and wiggles on your furniture.
You may also want to use caution, and a face mask, when dealing directly with drywall if you’re having work done on your home. Drywall as well as ready- made spackling putty/compound often contains wheat-based properties and may cause a reaction. Facemasks are not foolproof; however, for short exposures, they may do the trick. Look for a full respirator rather than a painter’s mask. Although, if you have asthma or other respiratory conditions that impact your breathing, you should use a respirator with caution and be ready to remove it if you have trouble breathing with it on.
Another place you may want to be mindful of the impact of airborne our is within bakeries and cafes. Although smelling baking products won’t make you react, the our which may still be looming in the air may. It’s important to also keep in mind that our can take 24−48 hours to fully settle, so if they baked using our which contains gluten prior to baking gluten-free items, those products might be contaminated with gluten due to the our particles settling on them during the day. Cross-contamination is something to always keep in mind when purchasing products tagged as gluten-free but created in an environment that may contain gluten.
Most importantly, listen to your body, ask questions, and be aware that airborne our may make you sick if you are sensitive to gluten. Stay safe and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Most places love to chat with their customers and are excited to learn about ways that they can improve your experience and earn your loyalty.