Qualitative and quantitative analysis of agricultural dust in working environment.

Ann Agric Environ Med 2002;9(1):71–78
The presented quantitative and qualitative analysis of dust in agricultural working environment is a continuation of the process of recognizing the exposure to dust among private farmers. The study covers the following: determination of respirable fraction of dust in the respiratory zone (on the background of total dust) while performing individual farming activities which constitute an annual work cycle, organic and mineral components of settled dust for basic groups of farming activities, and the main mineral pathogenic component - free silica in airborne and settled dust. The study was conducted on 5 farms specialising in: cultivation of cereals, root plants, vegetables, dairy cattle and swine breeding and mixed production. The analysis of settled dust covered 17 types of dust accompanying field work and farm/indoor activities. Studies of airborne dust were conducted on farmers while performing 40 main work activities which contributed to the annual work cycle. Results of the study confirmed the following: agricultural work activities are accompanied by a high level of dustiness and showed the presence of a respirable fraction in airborne dust of up to 25%, a higher level of pathogenic free silica SiO(2) in settled dust samples in the working environment of a farmer, compared to dust in respiratory zone, a comparable level of SiO(2) in total and respirable airborne dust, and a high level of organic component in settled dust at work activities with plant material. These results indicated that the evaluation of farmers' exposure to dust should be based on the examination of samples taken in the respiratory zone while performing individual work activities