Presence of endotoxins in different agricultural environments.
Olenchock SA; May JJ; Pratt DS; Piacitelli LA; Parker JE
Am J Ind Med 1990 Sep; 18(3):279-284
The occurrence of gram negative bacterial endotoxins in different agricultural environments was evaluated. Airborne endotoxin generation was quantified for two farming activities, including the chopping of baled corn stalks or straw for bedding in New York State and oat bin unloading in Alabama. Dust samples were collected through closed face two piece cassettes onto polyvinylchloride filters and transported to the laboratory for endotoxin analyses. Samples were taken during the operation of bedding choppers from three barns; mean total dust levels ranged from a low of 8.6mg/m3 to a high of 40.9mg/m3. Total dust exposure as measured by personal samplers ranged from 11.2mg/m3 to 69.4mg/m3. Endotoxin levels were found to vary markedly, with the highest concentration 27,096.2 endotoxins per cubic meter (EU/m3) being forty seven times greater than the lowest measured level. However the lowest value of 365.5EU/m3 far exceeded the calculated threshold level of 90EU/m3 at which acute pulmonary function decrements occur in cotton dust exposed individuals. Endotoxin contamination of laboratory generated dust from an oat sample likewise exceeded these levels. The authors conclude that the study documents the presence of potentially hazardous exposures to endotoxins in two common farm processes; further research into the distribution of endotoxins in different farming activities, in different geographical areas, and during different climatic conditions is needed to describe the overall respiratory risks to farmers, their families, and workers.
NIOSH-Author; Agricultural-industry; Agricultural-workers; Dust-sampling; Bacterial-dusts; Grain-dusts; Dust-analysis; Occupational-exposure; Exposure-levels
American Journal of Industrial Medicine