“Don’t let dust compromise the health, safety, and productivity on your farm or ranch. Protect your rural community, your farm laborers, your produce and your livestock. Manage harmful dust and prevent it from affecting the well being of your agricultural team. Save money and protect your valued farm machinery. Do all of these using only 100% botanical ingredients, use DustOut™ for the best agricultural soil management !”
Ranchers and farmers are well aware of the potential threat of dust to their productivity and the well being of their livestock. Agricultural dust created by dirt roads and dust on poultry and pig farms creates a very common problem for these rural areas therefore agricultural soil management is required.
Numerous types of dust that are generated in the farm and farming dust can come from many different sources. Organic dust is generated from crops, silage, animal wastes and bedding. Molds, pollen and animal dander can occur naturally and vary in concentrations due to weather, seasons, or ventilation in indoor and outdoor environments. Other dust sources in rural areas include powdered chemicals and diesel engine exhausts. Additionally, dust from soil, additives, and amendments can be formed during planting, weeding, and harvesting.
Long-term chronic effects from dust exposure may include lung congestion, chronic bronchitis, pneumonia, and different dust sensitivities and allergies. Chronic dust exposure can lead to serious respiratory diseases such as asthma, emphysema, and farmer’s lung. These are just a few of the illnesses that may require ongoing medications and medical care due to chronic exposure to dust. Fortunately, DustOut for agricultural and organic dust saves the day by offering an easy, money-saving method to control dust that left untreated can compromise health, safety, and productivity.
Benefits of Using DustOut™ in Agricultural Applications
- Compacts and stabilizes farm roads and trails.
- Lengthens the time between costly maintenance-work.
- Guard against harmful stunting of plant growth due to the shading effect from clogging of plant pores.
- Shield your farm management system from the appearance of harmful dust mites.
- Improve crop yields by mitigating farm dust.
- Meet state air board requirements through dust abatement programs that monitor air pollution.
- Regulate your system to meet anti-pollution standards.
- Ensure visibility and cut down on accidents.
- Keep the air clean and dirt roads safer for travel around your system.
- Eliminate wear and tear on the moving parts of trucks, tractors, and other costly machinery.
- Provide a more healthful environment for your family and your workers.
Types of Agricultural Dust
Organic Dust is the dust you breathe on a farm, ranch or any similar environment. This type of dust can become lodged in the lungs and cause breathing problems and other resulting health illnesses. The smaller the dust particle, the deeper it can penetrate into your lung tissues. If you smoke or have an existing respiratory illness, you may be even more susceptible during dust exposure. Short-term health effects may include sneezing, coughing, and throat itching. Also, during breathing difficulty, extra efforts need to be exerted to be able to inhale and exhale and this can cause stress and fatigue.
The multiple effects that dust exposure has on human health have generated an area of research in the last twenty years and because of this research, it has been proven that excessive exposure to organic dust is hazardous to both animals and humans. Much has been learned about organic dust exposure under different working conditions and the findings around the diseases that could be possibly acquired have prompted researchers to focus on improving the conditions of animal confinement buildings specifically. The highest exposure and the highest frequency of the occurrence of the symptoms are found in these environments.
Poultry farming also generates a substantial amount of exposure (potentially greater than swine farming) to dust. However, the number of working hours spent inside this environment, as well as the number of persons employed in this undertaking, is much lower than in swine farming. From a human health perspective, dust exposure in pig farming is the more urgent of the two as there are a larger number of people involved and the work necessitates more working hours inside the swine confinement buildings.
There are two key factors in farming that have increased this exposure to dust. The first factor is that of socio-economic change which has although decreased the number of smaller family-based farms, increased the number of hired farm laborers. The second factor is simply the development of agricultural industry in pig farming where workers spend all hours inside the confinement building. These two factors have and will continue to have a major impact on the respiratory health of agricultural workers.
Poultry Dust is a mixture of bird feed, bedding material (e.g. wood shavings and/or shreds or straw), bird droppings, feathers and dander (dead skin), dust mites and storage mites, and micro-organisms, such as bacteria, fungi (moulds), and endotoxins (compromised of the cell walls of bacteria).
People working in poultry houses breathe in many of these different airborne particles. The composition of poultry dust depends upon several factors (e.g. the growing or production system, the type of housing, the type and age of the birds, and the work itself). There are several typical activities that create airborne poultry dust, which is capable of causing respiratory disease. Respiratory disease (a harmful disease affecting our lungs and breathing tubes) is a major occupational health risk for people working in agriculture.
In farming zones, the number of occupational asthma cases is double the amount of the national average. Studies have shown that poultry workers’ exposure to poultry dust can be dangerous, and can cause lasting effects. Unfortunately, workers with occupational respiratory disease may develop permanent breathing problems, can become disabled, and may be unable to work. This not only affects individual workers and their families, but also has wider cost implications for employers and the poultry industry in general.
Swine Dust in swine confinement buildings originate from feed, bedding, insect parts and from animal dander and feces. Different types of organic and inorganic dust as well as various kinds of gases can also be found in these environments making it conducive for the existence of microorganisms, endotoxins, and mycotoxins.
Another factor in regards to the danger of dust in these buildings is whether or not the animals received drugs, such as antibiotics. If indeed drugs were administered at one time, residues may be present in the animal manure and within the particular confinement area; in the air and surfaces. Studies for the occurrence of various antibiotics were conducted by the National Institute of Environmental Health Science. They used dust samples which have been collected over a period of 20 years from the same piggery, and as a result, up to five types of antibiotics (including tylosin, various tetracyclines, sulfamethazine, and chloramphenicol) were detected in 90% of the samples totalling up to 12.5-mg/kg dust.
The dust becomes an irritant or occasionally serves as an allergen for the swine workers. Many of them are frequented with cough, runny nose and eye irritation. They also have complaints of shortness or difficulties in breathing. These symptoms have been recently measured to determine their prevalence in workers exposed to swine dust. The results showed that 23-45% of workers regularly experience nasal irritation, 14-56% of workers have phlegm, 6-37% have cough, 8-39% suffers from constant eye irritation and 5-36% are always complaining about chest tightness.
Dust in these areas where animals are bred or confined contains microorganisms, endotoxins, and allergens in substantial levels, and being excessively exposed to these types of dust pose as a threat to respiratory health. Larger risks arise when dust mixed with a cocktail of antibiotics is being inhaled. A person working in a swine confinement building for a long time have high chances of acquiring these respiratory symptoms.
Numerous gases including some of the most potentially harmful types such as ammonia, carbon monoxide and dioxide, methane, and hydrogen sulfide, are also generated in these confinement facilities. These gases irritate the air passages and cause similar symptoms as mentioned above. On worst circumstances, asphyxiation may occur as gases may displace oxygen and create an oxygen-depleted atmosphere.
Another situation is when hydrogen sulfide gases interfere with the cell’s oxygen utilization causing a cessation of aerobic respiration and eventually leading to cell death. Methane can be another hazard to the working environment because it is combustible and may cause explosion. Carbon monoxide gases are emitted when using power washers that have improper ventilation whereas hydrogen sulfide is primarily generated from poorly maintained manure pits.
Several health hazards should be taken into consideration when entering swine confinement buildings and warning signs should be placed right at the entry and in other conspicuous locations within the site. Numerous deaths have resulted when workers are not appropriately equipped with respiratory equipment to prevent inhalation of harmful gases while inside a manure pit. These occurrences could have been avoided if the necessary precautions have been taken.
Recommendations from the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health include the use of self-contained breathing apparatus and the implementation of a buddy-system for workers who intend to enter a manure pit.
A condition similar to flu with symptoms including headaches, muscle aches, and fatigue occurs after only a few hours of being inside a piggery. This condition is known as the Organic Dust Toxic Syndrome which is caused by endotoxins and mycotoxins. Fortunately, the effects are only short-term lasting between 24-48 hours however, re-exposure to the swine confinement area may cause this sickness to reoccur.