Occupational Asthma Reference

Nowak D, Health effects of airborne pollutants, particularly in swine confinement stalls, from the viewpoint of occupational medicine, Dtsch Tierarztl Wochenschr, 1998;105:225-234,

Keywords: swine confinement, farmer, Germany, endotoxin, pig, review

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Dennis Nowak, Institute fur Arbeits, Munich Dennis Nowak

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From the point of view of occupational respiratory medicine, an overview on potential health effects of airborne pollutants particularly in swine confinement houses is presented. Airway diseases are the most frequent occupational disorders among farmers in many countries around the world including Germany. Due to various methodological reasons, epidemiological studies in farming populations are more difficult to perform than among non-farmers. Major constituents of swine confinement dust include bacteria, endotoxin, mites, fungal spores, and animal dander. Gaseous pollutants include ammonia, methane, and hydrogen sulfide. In a variety of cross-sectional studies, high prevalences of respiratory symptoms and non-obstructive (and obstructive) bronchitis and Organic Dust Toxic Syndrome have been reported in pig farmers. Nasal and bronchial provocation challenges with swine confinement dust include influx of neutrophils and other inflammatory cells as well as mediators. In cross-sectional and longitudinal studies, endotoxin turns out as the probably most relevant parameter associated with lung function impairment. Further studies are clearly needed focusing on the prognosis of non-obstructive bronchitis in swine farmers and on health effects of reducing airborne contaminants in swine confinement houses

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