The paper reviews allergy to green coffee bean and castor bean in dock workers and in coffee processing workers from ’80 to nowadays in Trieste (NE of Italy). The avoidance of use of jute sacks contaminated with castor bean caused a decrease in sensitization to castor bean and the better work practices to handle jute sacks permitted to reduce airborne exposure to green coffee been powders, that resulted below occupational exposure limits. However, the measurement of ultrafine particles emitted during the handling of sacks showed exposure to high level of particles below 40 nm and permitted to identify some work tasks that can cause a more elevated exposure. Moreover, some sacks, coming from Tanzania, are still contaminated with castor bean, causing mild allergic symptoms. The work condition in dock workers in Trieste improved in years with a reduction of exposure to these allergens. However, the adoption of protective measures as well as periodical medical surveillance are needed to prevent sensitization or to detect the early onset of new cases.
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