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Microbiology of the fiber and airborne dust from washed cotton.

Olenchock SA; Millner PD; Fischer JJ; Perkins HH Jr.; Jacobs RR
NIOSH 1986 Oct; :52-74
Samples of unwashed and washed lints and of airborne dusts were collected when cottons washed on four washing system were carded. These samples were evaluated for different microbiological characteristics including total bacteria, gram negative bacteria, fungi, actinomycetes, and endotoxins. The findings showed that water washing of raw cottons before carding was an effective method for reducing the endotoxin content in the lint and subsequently card generated airborne dust, regardless of the source or condition of the cotton. Variations in the washing treatments affected the efficacy of endotoxin removal. Endotoxin analyses offered a simple, reproducible, and reliable method for monitoring the cleanliness of the airborne cotton dust. For all systems tested, washing substantially reduced the levels of gram negative bacteria (GNB) and endotoxin on the washed fiber. GNB counts and endotoxin were generally reduced by more than 90% from unwashed controls. The reductions in contamination were due to both the washing treatments and the high temperatures needed for drying the fiber. In general, the more rigorous the washing treatment, the greater the reduction in contamination of the fiber.
NIOSH-Author; Cotton-dust; Textiles-industry; Dust-exposure; Airborne-dusts; Toxins; Plant-dusts; Bacterial-dusts; Dust-control; Cotton-fibers
Publication Date
Document Type
Conference/Symposia Proceedings
Wakelyn PJ; Jacobs RR; Kirk IW
Fiscal Year
Source Name
Washed Cotton: Washing Techniques, Processing Characteristics, and Health Effects
Page last reviewed: February 25, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division