Industrial enzymes have a remarkably good safety profile, although like any other protein foreign to the human body, enzymes may cause respiratory sensitization. However, with the proper process controls during manufacturing, product formulation and handling instructions (avoiding dust or aerosols) enzymes can be used safely without any adverse health effects. With this respect there is a long history of safe manufacture and use of enzymes.
It is therefore essential for all industries where enzymes are handled in occupational settings that appropriate process controls and handling instructions are in place.
Enzymes can be manufactured by extraction from plant or animal sources, or by fermentation of microbial sources. For microbial derived enzyme preparations both the production organism and the enzyme produced with it are subject to a thorough risk assessment. Only organisms which have a long history of safe use and which are not able to cause disease in healthy human beings are used in the production of enzymes. The enzyme preparation does not contain the production microorganism.
Enzyme preparations have a very long history of being used as processing aid in the production of foods, such as in the dairy, wine, brewing and distilling, starch, and baking industries. Additionally, enzymes are used in various other industries e.g. detergent, textile, paper, leather, fuel ethanol, and animal feed.
In all these industries enzymes are handled as raw material and therefore it is relevant for all these industries to control the working environment by adequate process controls and handling instructions.
Amfep strives to place safe products on the market and give safety guidance to downstream users. The enzyme manufacturing industry has been working on safe handling of enzymes by reducing enzyme dust and aerosols via providing only liquid products with low volatility and solid products only as low dusting granulates.
A short general guide to the safe handling of industrial enzyme preparations has been made available by Amfep and can be found using this link:
If needed, the enzyme suppliers can advise or provide more detailed information and support related to the specific enzyme preparation and the handling and consumer use situation.