Sindh Health Department officially declared on Wednesday soybean dust the cause behind the incidents in Karachi’s Kemari, in which around 14 people lost their lives while scores were hospitalised due to respiratory issues.
Earlier on Wednesday, the unloading of soybean at Karachi Port was halted after a report called it the cause behind the deaths of more than a dozen Karachi residents. According to a report compiled by the International Center for Chemical and Biological Sciences (ICCBS) at Karachi University, an aeroallergen from soybean dust was found in the blood samples collected from the people, who died after the suspected gas leakage in the city’s Keamari area.
What is soybean dust and how does it cause allergy?
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. 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.