Occupational exposure to carbon dioxide, ammonia and hydrogen sulphide on livestock farms in north-west Spain
More details
Hide details
University of Santiago de Compostela, Escola Politecnica Superior, Lugo, Spain
Martin Barrasa   

University of Santiago de Compostela, Escola Politecnica Superior, Lugo, Spain
Ann Agric Environ Med. 2012;19(1):17–24
The influence of the type of farming on harmful gas exposures to carbon dioxide (CO2), ammonia (NH3) and hydrogen sulfide (H2S) was assessed from the perspective of animal welfare and occupational hygiene. Summer data of H2S, NH3 and CO2 concentrations and of environmental parameters were collected from 31 farms. The indices of exposure for long- term exposures to NH3 suggest the lowest acceptability of exposure was observed on poultry farms. CO2 had the highest dependence on production activity. For H2S, no differences were found based on farming activity. Both the stocking density and volume of air available affected the daily exposure and the index of exposure to CO. Significant differences were observed between hourly CO2 concentrations, depending on the level of activity inside the building. A positive correlation was found between gas concentrations and temperature increase. All values of daily and short-term exposures were below exposure limit values, which suggests that exposure conditions were appropriate for workers' health during the measurement period. Analysis of the working hours and average hourly concentration of gases during the times of day, with presence of workers inside the farm buildings, revealed significant differences for CO2.
Clark S. Report on prevention and control. Am J Ind Med. 1986; 10(3): 267-273.
Donham KJ. The concentration of swine production –effects on swine health, productivity, human health, and the environment. Vet Clin N Am-Food Anim Pract. 2000; 16(3): 559-597.
Erisman JW, Schaap M. The need for ammonia abatement with respect to secondary PM reductions in Europe. Environ Pollut. 2004; 129(1): 159-163.
Hartung J. Emissions of airborne substances from stalls of domestic animals. Pneumologie. 1992; 46(5): 196-202.
Heederik D, Sigsgaard T, Thorne PS, Kline JN, Avery R, Bonlokke JH, Chrischilles EA, Dosman JA, Duchaine C, Kirkhorn SR, Kulhankova K, Merchant JA. Health effects of airborne exposures from concentrated animal feeding operations. Environ Health Persp .2007; 115(2): 298-302.
Ivanova-Peneva SG, Aarnink AJA, Verstegen MWA. Ammonia emissions from organic housing systems with fattening pigs. Biosystems Eng. 2008; 99(3): 412-422.
Kim KY, Ko HJ, Kim HT, Kim YS, Roh YM, Lee CM, Kim CN. Monitoring of aerial pollutants emitted from swine houses in Korea. Environ Monit Assess. 2007; 133: 255-266.
Nielsen VC, Voorburg JH, Hermite PL. Odour and ammonia emission from livestock farming. Proceedings of a seminar held in Silsoe, UK. Elsevier Applied Science, London, New York, 26–28 March 1991.
van Breemen N, Burrough PA, Velthorst EJ, van Dobben HF, de Wit T, Ridder TB, Reijnders HFR. Soil acidification from atmospheric ammonium sulphate in forest canopy throughfall. Nature 1982; 299(5883): 548-550.
European Council. Directive 2001/81/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2001 on National Emission Ceilings.
Donham KJ, Scallon LJ, Popendorf W, Treuhaft MW, Roberts RC. Characterization of dusts collected from swine confinement buildings. Am Ind Hyg Assoc J. 1986; 47(7): 404-410.
Teye FK, Hautala M, Pastell M, Praks J, Veermae I, Poikalainen V, Pajumägic A, Kivinend T, Ahokas J. Microclimate and ventilation in Estonian and Finnish dairy buildings. Energ Buildings. 2008; 40(7): 1194-1201.
Curtis SE, Drummond JG, Simon J. Atmospheric ammonia affects swine health. Illinois Res. 1997; 19(4): 8-9.
Kim KY, Ko HJ, Lee KJ, Park JB, Kim CN. Temporal and spatial distributions of aerial contaminants in an enclosed pig building in winter. Environ Res. 2005; 99: 150–157.
Stombaug DP, Teague HS, Roller, WL. Effects of atmospheric ammonia on pig. J Anim Sci. 1969; 28(6): 844-847.
Ni JQ, Hendriks J, Coenegrachts J, Vinckier C. Production of carbon dioxide in a fattening pig house under field conditions. I. Exhalation by pigs. Atmos Environ. 1999; 33(22): 3691-3696.
Zhang G, Strom JS, Li B, Rom HB, Morsing S, Dahl P, Wang C. Emission of ammonia and other contaminant gases from naturally ventilated dairy cattle buildings. Biosystems Eng. 2005; 92(3): 355-364.
Robertson AP, Hoxey RP, Demmers TGM, Welch SK, Sneath RW, Stacey KF, Fothergill A, Filmer D, Fisher C. Commercial-scale studies of the effect of broiler-protein intake on aerial pollutant emissions. Biosystems Eng. 2002; 82(2): 217-225.
Liang Y, Xin H, Tanaka A, Lee SH, Li H, Wheeler EF, Gates RS, Zajaczkowski JS, Topper P, Casey KD. Ammonia emissions from US poultry houses: Part II – layer houses. In: Air Pollution from Agricultural Operations III, Proceedings. 2003; 147-158.
Ni JQ, Vinckier C, Coenegrachts J, Hendriks J. Effect of manure on ammonia emission from a fattening pig house with partly slatted floor. Livest Prod Sci. 1999; 59(1): 25-31.
Kim KY, Ko HJ, Kim HT, Kim YS, Roh YM, Lee CM, Kim CN. Quantification of ammonia and hydrogen sulfide emitted from pig buildings in Korea. J Environ Manage. 2008; 88(2): 195-202.
Jeppsson, KH. Diurnal variation in ammonia, carbon dioxide and water vapour emission from an uninsulated, deep litter building for growing/finishing pigs. Biosystems Eng. 2002; 81(2): 213-223.
Mitloehner FM, Calvo MS. Worker health and safety in concentrated animal feeding operations. J Agric Safe Health. 2008; 14(2): 163-87.
Crook B, Robertson JF, Glass SAT, Botheroyd EM, Lacey J, Topping, MD. Airborne dust, ammonia, microorganisms, and antigens in pig confinement houses and the respiratory health of exposed farm-workers. Am Ind Hyg Assoc J. 1991; 52(7): 271-279.
Von Essen S, Donham K. Illness and injury in anmal confinement workers. Occup Med-State Art. 1999; 14(2): 337-350.
INSHT: Límites de exposición profesional para agentes químicos en España. Instituto Nacional de Seguridad e Higiene en el Trabajo, Madrid 2008.
Ministerio de Trabajo y Asuntos Sociales: Real Decreto 374/2001, de 6 de abril sobre la protección de la salud y seguridad de los trabajadores contra los riesgos relacionados con los agentes químicos durante el trabajo. BOE nº 04 01/05/2001. Madrid 2001.
Consellería de medio Rural: Estatísticas provisionais. Xunta de Galicia. Consellería do Medio Rural 2006. [serial on line] March 2010. Avaliable from: URL:
INHST: NTP 583: Evaluación de la exposición laboral a agentes químicos. Norma UNE-EN-482 y relacionadas. Instituto Nacional de Seguridad e Higiene en el Trabajo, Madrid 2001.
AENOR. UNE EN-689: Atmósferas en el lugar de trabajo. Directrices para la evaluación de la exposición por inhalación de agentes químicos para la comparación con los valores límite y estrategia de la medición. AENOR, Madrid 1996.
Wathes CM, Phillips VR, Holden MR, Sneath RW, Short JL, White RP, Hartung J, Seedorf J, Schröder M, Linkert KH, Pedersen S, Takai H, Johnsen JO, Koerkamp PWG, Uenk GH, Metz JHM, Hinz T, Caspary V, Linke S. Emissions of aerial pollutants in livestock buildings in northern Europe: Overview of a multinational project. J Agr Eng Res. 1998; 70(1): 3-9.
Koerkamp PWGG, Metz JHM, Uenk GH, Phillips VR, Holden MR, Sneath RW, Short JL, White RPP, Hartung J, Seedorf J, Schröder M, Linkert KH, Pedersen S, Takai H, Johnsen JO, Wathes CM. Concentrations and emissions of ammonia in livestock buildings in northern Europe. J Agr Eng Res. 1998; 70(1): 79-95.
Whyte RT. Occupational exposure of poultry stockmen in current barn systems for egg production in the United Kingdom. Brit Poultry Sci. 2002; 43(3): 364-373.
Rom HB, Dahl PJ. Influence of room temperature on ammonia emission from confined slaughter pig units. Proceedings of AgEng. 2002; 2: 185-186.
Miles DM, Owens PR, Rowe DE. Spatial variability of litter gaseous flux within a commercial broiler house: Ammonia, nitrous oxide, carbon dioxide, and methane. Poultry Sci. 2006; 85(2): 167-172.
Aarnink AJA, Elzing, A. Dynamic model for ammonia volatilization in housing with partially slatted floors, for fattening pigs. Livest Prod Sci. 1988; 53(2): 153-169.
Voorburg JH, Kroodsma W. Volatile emissions of housing systems for cattle. Livest Prod Sci. 1992; 31(1-2): 57-70.
Schulte DD. Critical parameters for emissions. Ammonia and Odour Emissions from Animal Production Facilities, Proceedings 1997; 1 and 2: 23-34.
Srinath EG, Loehr RC. Ammonia desorption by diffused aeration. J Water Pollut C. 1974; 46(8): 1939-1957.
Hashimoto AG, Ludington DC. Ammonia desorption from concentrated chicken manure slurries. In: Proceedings: Livestock Waste Management and Pollution Abatement. 1971: 117-121.
Carr LE, Wheaton FW, Douglass LW. Empirical-models to determine ammonia concentrations from broiler chicken litter. Trans ASAE. 1990; 33(4): 1337-1342.