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Health hazard evaluation report: MHETA-85-083-1976, Zellwood Farms, Inc., Zellwood, Florida.

Kullman GJ; Sanderson WT
Morgantown, WV: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, MHETA 85-083-1976, 1989 Aug; :1-91
In response to a request from Zellwood Farms, Inc. (SIC-2033), a mushroom farm near Orlando, Florida, an evaluation was made of an outbreak of respiratory problems among farm workers. This farm had been in operation for 16 years and employed about 250 workers from four ethnic/racial backgrounds: white, black, Hispanic and Vietnamese. The jobs involved preparation of a growth medium, spawning the compost with mushroom mycelia, growing the mushrooms, and picking and packing the mushrooms. Seven workers were diagnosed with mushroom workers lung (MWL) between April of 1982 and August of 1985. These workers had different farm operations, indicating that workers throughout the farm were exposed to disease causing agents. A cross sectional medical study diagnosed no additional workers with an acute respiratory illness consistent with MWL. However, about 20 percent of the workers were experiencing some symptoms consistent with MWL. Organic dust constituents capable of causing MWL were identified at the farm. The authors conclude that some workers continue to be at risk of developing MWL. The authors recommend that organic dust exposures at the compost handling operations, and the spawn, tray fill, and casing lines be reduced. A respiratory protection program should be developed for workers in jobs requiring periodic work in areas with high organic dust levels. A medical surveillance and referral program should be established for workers.
NIOSH-Author; NIOSH-Health-Hazard-Evaluation; NIOSH-Technical-Assistance-Report; Region-4; Fungi; Hazard-Confirmed; Agricultural-workers; Agricultural-industry; Foodstuff; Air-contamination; Biohazards; Occupational-respiratory-disease; Author Keywords: Mushroom Farming; Mushroom Workers Lung; Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis; Fungi; Bacteria; Endotoxins; Organic Dusts
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Field Studies; Hazard Evaluation and Technical Assistance
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National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division