Impact of Aerosols on Respiratory Health of Dairy Workers and Residents Living Near Dairies - Discussion and Implications of Recent Research

Animal Manure Management May 15, 2015 Print Friendly and PDF

Recent studies of large modern dairies have found that respiratory disease remains an important problem for dairy workers, contributing to lost time and high turnover.   Exposure to high levels of organic dusts generated during milking, moving cows, feeding and other tasks has been associated with increased inflammation and decreased lung function resulting in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma-like diseases.   Much research into the cause of respiratory disease in agriculture has focused on the role of endotoxins - a chemical component of Gram-negative bacteria.  Recent research suggests that other components of these dusts such as Gram-positive bacteria and fungi are also important.  Many new workers adapt to these exposures, and new evidence suggests that individual behavior and genetic factors play a key role in explaining why some workers are more susceptible.  In addition several new studies of communities living in the vicinity of dairies and other livestock operations have shown that low level exposure to bioaerosols containing endotoxins and other microbial components at a very young age may be protective against the development of asthma later in life, possibly through priming of the immune system.   Dairy producers are faced with interpreting complex research that may appear to show conflicting results.  This presentation will review and discuss research into the impact of aerosols on respiratory health of dairy workers and residents living near dairies - the findings and implications for dairy producers.

Authors

Reynolds, Stephen Stephen.Reynolds@Colostate.edu Colorado State University, High Plains Intermountain Center for Agricultural Health and Safety  

The authors are solely responsible for the content of these proceedings. The technical information does not necessarily reflect the official position of the sponsoring agencies or institutions represented by planning committee members, and inclusion and distribution herein does not constitute an endorsement of views expressed by the same. Printed materials included herein are not refereed publications. Citations should appear as follows. EXAMPLE: Authors. 2015. Title of presentation. Waste to Worth: Spreading Science and Solutions. Seattle, WA. March 31-April 3, 2015. URL of this page. Accessed on: today’s date. 

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.