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Lung function and respiratory symptoms in pig farmers.
  1. P Bongers,
  2. D Houthuijs,
  3. B Remijn,
  4. R Brouwer,
  5. K Biersteker
  1. Department of Environmental and Tropical Health, Agricultural University of Wageningen, The Netherlands.


    In a pilot study to investigate the health effects of swine confinement work on the respiratory tract pulmonary function tests and a questionnaire for respiratory symptoms were used. Complete data, including qualitative exposure information, were gathered for 132 owners of fattening, breeding, or closed pig farms. All measured pulmonary function values, except the FVC, were on average lower than the reference values of the European Committee for Coal and Steel. There were no significant associations between duration of exposure and pulmonary function. About 28% of the farmers had respiratory or flu-like symptoms during or shortly after confinement work; 14% reported symptoms four to eight hours after work. For the fattening farm the following elements of confinement management were negatively correlated with pulmonary function: fully slatted floor, an automatic feeding system, natural ventilation, and the use of dust masks. A significant association between lung disease of the pigs and pulmonary function of the pig farmers was observed.

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