Aerosols in the agricultural setting.
ABSTRACT This report summarizes discussions chaired by Kent Pinkerton held during the New Paths: Health and Safety in Western Agriculture conference, November 11-13, 2008. Research on air quality and aerosols in the agricultural setting was presented and discussed, providing insight into critical issues by many of the prominent scientists in this field. The panel discussion provided an overview of recent advances and future directions for research regarding sampling and exposure assessment of biologically active aerosols. This analysis considers chemical composition, individual exposures, and subsequent health effects experienced in large- and small-scale farming operations. The breakout discussion focused on other sources of particulate matter associated with agricultural activities prominent in various regions of the western United States. The complementary directions for these discussions fully demonstrate the wide range of concerns and issues that exist regarding bioaerosols and ambient dust associated with agricultural activities.
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ABSTRACT: A trend in consolidating livestock and poultry operations into concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) potentially increases farm worker exposure to the hazards associated with high animal density conditions. The two main contributors of documented injury (fatal and non-fatal) are related to accidents with machinery and animals. Tractor rollovers are the leading accident in the area of farming machinery issues; kicks, bites, and workers being pinned between animals and fixed objects are non-machinery issues typically caused by inadequate precautions taken in the vicinity of livestock. These types of accidents are well documented; however, recommended safety strategies continue to be studied to reduce the risks and numbers of injuries associated with both machines and animals. Unlike accidents involving machinery and animals, air emission exposure and potential health effects from CAFOs are not well documented. CAFOs have the potential to show higher gaseous and particulate matter emissions compared to smaller farms. Pollutants like hydrogen sulfide, ammonia, volatile organic compounds, particulate matter, and endotoxin are emitted on CAFOs and can potentially affect worker health. These specific air emissions, their sources, and some of their harmful capabilities have been identified, and regulations have been implemented to create improved work environments on CAFOs. Despite such precautions, farm workers continue to report respiratory health symptoms related to their work environment. Air pollutant exposure and its health effects on farm workers require focused research to arrive at improved safety strategies that include mitigation techniques and protective gear to minimize adverse effects of working in CAFOs.Journal of agricultural safety and health 04/2008; 14(2):163-87.
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ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to determine whether Californian farmers changed respiratory protective behaviors over time and the personal characteristics associated with protective behaviors. We surveyed 588 farmers longitudinally from 1993 to 2004. Questions included frequency of protective mask or respirator use in dusty conditions and the percentage of time the farmers drove a tractor with a closed cab. To assess longitudinal associations between protective behaviors and potential covariates, general estimating equation modeling was used with adjustment for subject age, study date, and other covariates. Only 25% of the farmers were "very" concerned about respiratory risks. Over time, any use of a dust mask or respirator decreased significantly, from 54% in 1993 to 37% in 2004 (p-value < or = 0.0001), while consistent use of respiratory protection was maintained by 20% of the cohort. Use of a closed-cab tractor increased slightly from 14% in 1993 to 17% in 2004 (p-value = 0.04). Farmers who were ex-smokers and those concerned about respiratory risk were more likely to consistently use a dust mask or respirator. However, the more acreage or time spent in dust, the less likely farmers were to use protection. Closed-cab tractor use was associated with higher salary, more time driving tractors, and larger acreage farmed. Emission reduction remains a priority. Exposure reduction by closed-cab tractor use was not associated with perception of respiratory risk. As mask or respirator use was most positively associated with respiratory concern, more effort needs to be concentrated on educating farmers about long-term respiratory health risks, and providing more user-friendly personal protective equipment.Journal of agricultural safety and health 04/2008; 14(2):189-203.
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ABSTRACT: Modern concentrated animal feeding operations generate sizeable amounts of manure and related emissions into water and air. These present potential harm to human health. Adverse respiratory effects have been documented among workers in these feeding operations, but there has been little research on wider environmental effects. Few conclusions are possible at this time but recent studies (including a report in this issue of Epidemiology by Radon and colleagues) suggest possible adverse effects. Respiratory outcomes of greatest concern include nasal allergies, airflow obstruction and asthma. Another concern among residents near concentrated animal feeding operations is adverse effects from malodors. The potential impact of these operations on quality of life and health needs to be documented.Epidemiology 06/2007; 18(3):309-11. · 5.74 Impact Factor