Air contaminants in different European farming environments.
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Institute for Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich, Germany
Institute for Hygiene and Applied Physiology, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich, Switzerland
Department of Respiratory Diseases, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark
Hospital Germans Trial i Pujol, Badalona, Spain
Department of Animal Hygiene and Animal Welfare, School of Veterinary Medicine, Hanover, Germany
Department of Preventive Medicine and Environmental Health, College of Medicine, University of Iowa, Iowa City, USA
Pegasus Labor GmbH, Duesseldorf, Germany
Ann Agric Environ Med. 2002;9(1):41-48
Farmers are known to be at high risk from the development of occupational airway disease. The first stage of the European farmers' study has shown that pig farmers in Denmark and Germany, poultry farmers in Switzerland and greenhouse workers in Spain were at highest risk for work-related respiratory symptoms. Therefore, the aim of this study was to determine exposure levels at relevant farm workplaces. Dust and endotoxin levels as well as microbiological concentrations were determined in 213 crop and animal farming environments by personal sampling. The highest total dust concentrations were found in poultry houses in Switzerland with median concentrations of 7.01 mg/m3. The median airborne endotoxin concentrations in total dust ranged between 0.36 ng/m3 in Spanish greenhouses and 257.58 ng/m3 in poultry houses in Switzerland. Likewise, the highest median concentrations of total (2.0 x 107 cells/m3) and active fungi (4.4 x 105 cfu/m3) have been found in Swiss poultry houses. The predominant fungus taxa discovered in poultry houses were Eurotium spp. and thermophilic fungi. Cladosporium and Botrytis were mainly detected in greenhouses. The exposure level found in this study might put the farmers at risk from respiratory diseases.
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