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Occupational exposure level of pig facility workers to chemical and biological pollutants

University of Life Sciences in Lublin
Institute of Soil Science and Plant Cultivation – State Research Institute, Puławy
The aim of the study was to assess the impact of a fattening season on the level of airborne chemical and microbial pollutants in the pig fattening house.

Material and methods:
Evaluation of the air composition as well as the microbiological air quality were made during 2 series, i.e. in the summer and winter period of fattening. Airborne gaseous pollutants were analyzed by gas (organic compounds) and liquid (inorganic compounds) chromatography methods. Air microbial contamination was determined in compliance with the Polish Standard PN-EN 13098:2007.

The air/gas composition in the pig unit showed that irrespective of the fattening season, the level of determined pollutants – especially ammonia, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including methanethiol and total dust – could have an adverse effect on the health of swine facility workers. The investigated pig building was found to be a source of chemical pollutants as well as biological agents. The total bacterial count in 1 m3 of air was 3.6×106 and 4.6×106 cfu, during the winter and summer periods of fattening, respectively. Gram-positive cocci predominated in both seasons. In the winter, fungi of the Trichoderma genus were represented equally often. In the summer period, up to 90% of the isolated fungus was Aspergillus spp.

Workers engaged in swine rearing and production are occupationally exposed not only to a high concentration of microbial contamination, but also to irritating and odorogenous volatile compounds. Thus, activities directed at the promotion of health prevention strategies, as well as effective guidelines for safe and hygienic animal housing, should be implemented.

Anna Chmielowiec-Korzeniowska   
University of Life Sciences in Lublin, ul. Akademicka 13, 20-950 Lublin, Poland
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