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Experienced Air Quality and Symptoms in Persons Working with Dairy Cows and Cattle

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Paper number  131620596,  2013 Kansas City, Missouri, July 21 - July 24, 2013. (doi: @2013
Authors:   Sven A Nimmermark
Keywords:   Dairy cows barns air quality work environment respiratory health.

Abstract. Air contaminants as well as other factors in dairy cow housing may affect the health. A study was made with the aim to find factors correlated to the air quality and the health of workers in animal production facilities. Data was collected by a questionnaire sent to 400 farmers working with dairy cows or cattle and approximately 600 working with pigs or poultry. The response rate was 75%. Analyses were made by χ2 -analysis and multiple logistic regressions. The prevalence of self reported asthma was 3.2% for persons working with cattle and dairy cows, 3.9% for the group working with pigs, and 1.4% for the group working with poultry. Compared to all the respondents, a higher number of persons working with dairy cows and cattle were much annoyed to stuffy (bad) air, illumination and work positions. Persons working with cows and cattle spent more time per week in barns (46 h) compared to those working with pigs (28 h) and poultry (23 h). Long working days in barns showed a positive correlation to symptoms like dizziness, nose irritation and wheezing, and also to skin irritations and muscle ache. Persons working with dairy cows and cattle showed a higher 12 month prevalence of stomach problems and diarrhea (p≤0.05) compared to those working with other animal species. Manual handling of course feed was correlated to a higher 7-day prevalence of cough with phlegm as well as cough without phlegm and also to a higher 7 day prevalence of scaling, itching hair bottom.

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