Concentration and emission of airborne contaminants in a laboratory animal facility housing rabbits

Department of Vivarial Science and Research, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA, USA.
Journal of the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science: JAALAS (Impact Factor: 1.12). 04/2008; 47(2):39-48.
Source: PubMed


Characterization of animal housing conditions can determine the frequency of bedding and cage changes, which are not standardized from facility to facility. Rabbits produce noticeable odors, and their excreta can scald and stain cages. Our facility wanted to document measurable airborne contaminants in a laboratory rabbit room in which excreta pans were changed weekly and cages changed biweekly. Contaminants included particulate, endotoxin, ammonia, carbon dioxide, and a rabbit salivary protein as a marker for rabbit allergen. Concentrations were measured daily over a 2-wk period in a laboratory animal facility to determine whether they increased over time and on days considered to be the dirtiest. Except for ammonia, concentrations of all airborne contaminants did not differ between clean and dirty days. Concentrations were lower than occupational health exposure guidelines for all contaminants studied, including ammonia. After measurement of concentration, a model was applied to calculate mean emission factors in this rabbit room. Examples of emission factor utilization to determine airborne contaminant concentration in rabbit rooms under various environmental conditions and housing densities are provided.

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    • "Ammonia concentrations have also been measured for laboratory rabbits. However, management and cleaning practices differ from those in commercial rabbit production, and lower values (less than 2 mg/m 3 ) have been reported (Kaliste et al., 2002; Ooms et al., 2008). Carbon dioxide concentrations did not exceed the maximum recommended threshold of 5000 ppm (approximately 9000 mg/m 3 ) proposed by Wathes and Charles (1994), although they were higher than the values reported by Michl and Hoy (1996)Table 5: Effect of temperature and relative humidity on gas emissions within the studied range (temperature from 12 to 32 ºC and relative humidity from 15 to 98%). "
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