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Request for assistance in preventing organic dust toxic syndrome.

Musgrave KJ; Parker JE; Olenchock SA; Castellan RM
Morgantown, WV: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 94-102, 1994 Apr; :1-11
Organic dust toxic syndrome (ODTS) in agricultural workers exposed to organic dusts contaminated with microorganisms was discussed. Four case reports were presented in which a total of 29 agricultural workers developed ODTS after they had been exposed to organic dusts. The first case involved nine workers who had moved 800 bushels of oats from a poorly ventilated storage bin in Alabama. The second case involved a 52 year old man who had shoveled composted wood chips and leaves. The third case involved 14 workers who had been preparing silos for mechanical unloading. The fourth case involved five workers at a municipal golf course who were manually unloading a trailer truck filled with wood chips. Several recommendations were offered which could have prevented the illnesses in these cases. These recommendations included awareness of the health effects resulting from breathing organic dusts, informing their physicians regarding recent dust exposures when seeking respiratory treatment, carefully harvesting and storing products to minimize spoilage, using automated equipment to move decayed materials, using local exhaust ventilation and wet methods to suppress dust and minimize exposures, using engineering controls to reduce dust exposure to silo unloaders, using appropriate respirators when exposure cannot be avoided altogether, and not wearing contaminated clothing from work to home.
NIOSH-Author; Organic-dusts; Airborne-dusts; Dust-inhalation; Dust-exposure; Respiratory-system-disorders; Risk-factors; Agricultural-workers; Occupational-exposure
Publication Date
Document Type
Numbered Publication; Alert
Fiscal Year
NTIS Accession No.
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Identifying No.
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 94-102
NIOSH Division
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Page last reviewed: September 25, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division