Author(s): Donham KJ, Zavala DC, Merchant J
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Abstract A sample population of owner/operators of swine confinement production facilities (21 subjects in 21 different facilities) were tested by spirometry immediately before and after a 4-hr work period. These confinement workers had statistically significant decrements in flow rates ranging from 3.3\% (mean FVC) to 11.9\% (mean FEF25-75). The air within the work environment was sampled for particulates and gases during the exposure period. There was suggestive evidence for a dose-response association between environmental exposures to carbon dioxide (CO2) and hydrogen sulfide (H2S). There was also some evidence for an additive relationship between smoking and work environment exposure on decline in lung function. The results of this study indicate that those working in swine confinement buildings experience irritation to the respiratory tract which is manifest by decreased flow rates. These findings suggest this exposure represents an emerging occupational health hazard. Further studies are warranted to assess the potential for chronic or irreversible damage to the respiratory tract.
This article was published in Am J Ind Med
and referenced in Journal of Civil & Environmental Engineering