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Farm Dust – The Dangers of Inhaling and Need for Respiratory Protection Through FFP2 Masks

Farm building dust refers to whatever from grain dust to mould spores released from hay and straw. Human being contact with this dust can have detrimental effects on our overall health with many of us completely unacquainted with the risks. website

It is not only farmers which may have reported respiratory problems which may have been linked to farm building dust. Many equine owners do not know that activities such as mucking out, travelling across and filling hay netting, bring about the release of large amounts of dirt and spores which are easily inhaled. Horse owners know about equine breathing problems associated with messy bedding and hay, but for the most part, when these high risk activities take place, the horses are turned away. 

COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) seen mostly in horses (rather than any other farm animals) and Farmer’s Lung, a condition seen in humans, are both allergic conditions that contain long been associated with mouldy hay and hay (George and Lacey 1968). An occupational disease of farmers exposed to particles from mouldy hay was first described in Cumberlandin 1932. Since then understanding has continued as following evidence has presented itself in many areas where farming practice and damage through climate conditions lead to publicity (Fuller CL1953, Dickie HOURS and Rankin J 1958)

As the occurrence of asthma increases, protection for those affected by respiratory diseases becomes paramount, but whether the responsibility for security sits with company or the individual is still a grey area. A study conducted at a stables in 2009 survey by the Division of Environmental Epidermiology, showed that ‘dust, endotoxin* and beta (1-> 3) glutan publicity is considerable in horses stables’ (Samadi A, Wouters IM, Houben R, Jamshidafard AR, Van Erdenburg N, Heederik DJ 2009)

The endotoxin* exposure levels in this study were well over a Dutch offered standard limits.

*an endotoxin is a toxin that is a structural molecule of the bacteria that is recognised by proof system (Wikipedia).

The facts are clear – safeguard is necessary (particularly for those with underlying respiratory system conditions), awareness is limited and regulation is merely not there! I strongly suggest those who spend time on farms to recognize their personal risks and take good thing about proper available dust protection.

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