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New hypersensitivity epidemics: organic dusts and illness.
New Epidemics in Occupational Health, Proceedings of the International Symposium on New Epidemics in Occupational Health, May 16-19, 1994, Helsinki, Finland 1994 May; :109-113
This report discussed the response of agricultural workers to several agents, specifically organic dusts, through occupational exposure. Organic, or agricultural, dusts consisted of microbial agents and their toxins, animals danders, insect and rodent parts, and plant materials. The focus of the discussion was on gram negative bacteria, their associated endotoxins, the exposures experienced by agricultural workers through their daily work, and the two emerging occupational exposures that provided the potential for new epidemics of lung disease. Airborne endotoxin contamination of dusts from agricultural products had been associated with both acute and chronic lung changes. Specifically, emerging exposures have been reported from poultry production and composting. Workers in the animal production industry have been reported to experience signs and symptoms of respiratory difficulties following dust exposure. Various aspects of the poultry production industry, from raising to catching and processing animals, produced relatively high levels of dusts which contained fecal microorganisms, danders, and toxins, all of which could elicit an inflammatory or allergic response. Workers involved in composting have also been shown to be exposed to undecayed wood containing high numbers of microorganisms and their related toxins. The hand loading of composted material into a vehicle resulted in endotoxin levels of 636.5 Endotoxin Units per cubic meter (EU/m3) in the inhalable dust and 771.8EU/m3 in the respirable dust in this outdoor activity. The author stresses the importance of awareness and prevention efforts towards potential respiratory health problems which may develop into epidemics.
Agricultural-workers; Dust-exposure; Airborne-dusts; Microbiology; Air-contamination; Occupational-exposure; Bacterial-dusts; Respiratory-system-disorders; Epidemiology; Risk-factors; Poultry-industry
Rantanen J; Lehtinen S; Kalimo R; Nordman H; Vainio H
New Epidemics in Occupational Health, Proceedings of the International Symposium on New Epidemics in Occupational Health, May 16-19, 1994, Helsinki, Finland
Page last reviewed: May 5, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division