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The association between farming activities and respiratory health in rural school age children.

Farthing-P; Rennie-D; Pahwa-P; Janzen-B; Dosman-J
J Agromed 2009 Apr; 14(2):256-262
This study assessed the prevalence of asthma in Canadian children living on and off farms and the risk of asthma and respiratory symptoms of children exposed to certain farming activities. A cross-sectional survey was sent to parents of school children ages 6 to 13 living in an agricultural community in rural Saskatchewan. History of asthma and respiratory symptoms (cough, phlegm, or wheeze), location of home, and exposure to farming activities including haying, harvesting, moving, or playing with hay bales, feeding livestock, cleaning or playing in barns, cleaning pens, and emptying or filling grain bins were assessed. The response rate was 90.6% (n = 553). The prevalence of asthma and respiratory symptoms were 18.8% and 39.8%, respectively, and did not differ by home location (farm/nonfarm). In the adjusted multivariable models conducted with each farming activity separately, children who were exposed to emptying and filling of grain bins had a higher odds of asthma (odds [OR] = 2.18, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.03-4.62]. Reports of playing on or near hay bales (OR = 1.89, 95% CI:1.19-3.01), (OR = 2.08, 95% CI:1.07-4.06), and cleaning pens (OR = 2.70, 95% CI:1.05-6.97) were associated with increased respiratory symptoms. Certain farming activities associated with dust and animals appear to be risk factors for asthma and respiratory symptoms in this study population and should be avoided.
Age-factors; Agricultural-industry; Agricultural-processes; Agriculture; Allergic-reactions; Allergies; Children; Environmental-hazards; Families; Farmers; Health-hazards; Inhalation-studies; Lung-disorders; Lung-irritants; Pesticides-and-agricultural-chemicals; Public-health; Pulmonary-system; Pulmonary-system-disorders; Quantitative-analysis; Respirable-dust; Respiratory-hypersensitivity; Respiratory-infections; Respiratory-irritants; Risk-analysis; Risk-factors; Statistical-analysis; Author Keywords: Asthma; children; cough; farming activities; phlegm
Pamela Farthing, MSc, Nursing Education Program of Saskatchewan (NEPS), Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Sciences and Technology (Kelsey Campus), 1130 Idylwyld Drive, P.O. Box 1520, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada S7K 3R5
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Journal of Agromedicine
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Marshfield Clinic