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Respiratory risks associated with agriculture.
Schenker-M; Ferguson-T; Gamsky-T
Occup Med: State of the Art Rev 1991 Jul; 6(3):415-428
A review of the respiratory health effects found in agricultural workers was made. Toxicants and particulate hazards that caused obstructive and restrictive disease, hypersensitivity pneumonitis, organic dust toxic syndrome, and infectious disease were discussed. Obstructive diseases caused by grain particles, fungal and bacterial contamination decreased peak expiratory flow rates, forced vital capacity (FVC), and forced expiratory volume (FEV) in grain workers. Hog workers contracted bronchitis more frequently than other farmers due to airborne bacterial and fungal contaminants. Occupational asthma was produced by exposure to organic antigens from plant or animal origin. Restrictive disease was found in workers exposed chronically to organic and inorganic dusts. Clinical indicators of restrictive disease included a reduced FVC but a normal FEV/FVC ratio. Also, radiographic tests were shown to be a good method for detecting restrictive disease. The main pathologies associated with restrictive disease was fibrosis and silicosis. Chemical toxicants such as pesticides also produced restrictive diseases. Farmer's lung, a hypersensitivity pneumonitis, was found to be caused by acute inhalation of spores in moldy hay. It is the most prevalent of respiratory disorders in farmers and the symptoms include dyspnea, fever, myalgia, and severe restricted lung function. Children may also be exposed these hazards in the farming environment. The authors suggest that physicians caring for agriculture workers be alert for the symptoms of these occupational respiratory diseases. Simple preventive measures like a dust mask could prevent most of these respiratory diseases.
Occupational-respiratory-disease; Respiratory-irritants; Airborne-particles; Respiratory-infections; Plant-dusts; Occupational-hazards; Agricultural-workers; Animal-husbandry-workers; Respiratory-system-disorders; Grain-dusts
Issue of Publication
Occupational Medicine: State of the Art Reviews. Health Hazards of Farming
University of California - Davis
Page last reviewed: April 12, 2019
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division