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Acute change in FEV1 and FVC associated with work in large-scale dairies.

Eastman C; Mitchell DC; Bennett DH; Mitloehner FM; Schenker MB
Am J Respir Crit Care Med 2010 May; 181(Meeting Abstracts):A4704
RATIONALE: Until recently, the California dairy industry had been growing rapidly. Dairy work has been associated with respiratory health problems and decreased lung function in Europe and the Midwestern and Eastern United States. However, California dairies are unique. Although the facilities are open-air, the average herd size is substantially larger than in the Midwestern US or Europe. The overall aim of our study is to characterize the exposure of workers to occupational airborne pollutants on California dairies and determine if dairy exposures pose a significant respiratory health risk among workers. METHODS: We hypothesize that dairy work on large California dairies is associated with an acute decline in lung function. 220 male dairy workers and 49 male employees of a processing plant (control) completed questionnaires and spirometry pre- and post-work shift. RESULTS: The average age was 33 years (SD = 11.2, range 18 - 70) and 35 years (SD = 12.1, range 19 - 62) for dairy and control participants, respectively. 98% of both dairy and control participants were Hispanic. Smoking prevalence was low: 23% of dairy workers and 14% of control facility employees were current smokers (p > 0.05). In preliminary analyses, dairy work was found to be a significant predictor of both the % FEV1 change (p = 0.033) and the absolute FEV1 change (p = 0.013) across a work shift, after adjusting for smoking status. Similarly, dairy work was a significant predictor of both the % FVC change (p = 0.038) and the absolute FVC change (p = 0.005) across a work shift after adjusting for smoking status. The proportion of day and night shift workers was not significantly different between dairy and control workers. Dairy work was not a significant predictor of either baseline FEV1/FVC or the cross-shift change in FEV1/FVC (Table 1). CONCLUSION: We observed a cross-shift decline in both FEV1 and FVC associated with dairy work in preliminary analyses, but the FEV1/FVC ratio did not change significantly and was not associated with dairy work compared to controls. These results suggest that dairy work in California is associated with an acute restrictive change across a work shift. Further analyses will include examination of other pulmonary function outcomes, specific work tasks, smoking history, and other covariates.
Age-factors; Age-groups; Airborne-particles; Biological-effects; Cellular-reactions; Dairy-products; Dust-exposure; Dust-inhalation; Dust-measurement; Dust-particles; Dusts; Environmental-contamination; Environmental-exposure; Environmental-factors; Environmental-hazards; Environmental-pollution; Exposure-assessment; Exposure-levels; Exposure-methods; Fumes; Immune-system; Immunodiagnosis; Inhalants; Inhalation-studies; Lung; Lung-disease; Lung-disorders; Lung-function; Lung-irritants; Occupational-diseases; Occupational-exposure; Occupational-hazards; Occupational-health; Occupational-respiratory-disease; Particle-aerodynamics; Particulate-dust; Particulates; Pulmonary-congestion; Pulmonary-disorders; Pulmonary-function; Pulmonary-function-tests; Pulmonary-system; Pulmonary-system-disorders; Quantitative-analysis; Questionnaires; Respirable-dust; Respiratory-function-tests; Respiratory-hypersensitivity; Respiratory-infections; Respiratory-irritants; Respiratory-system-disorders; Risk-analysis; Risk-factors; Spirometry; Statistical-analysis; Toxic-effects; Work-areas; Work-environment; Worker-health; Work-operations; Work-performance; Workplace-monitoring; Workplace-studies
Publication Date
Document Type
Email Address
Funding Type
Agriculture; Cooperative Agreement
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
Priority Area
Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing
Source Name
American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine
Performing Organization
University of California - Davis
Page last reviewed: July 22, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division