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Respiratory status in dairy farmers in France; cross sectional and longitudinal analyses
  1. H Chaudemanche1,
  2. E Monnet2,
  3. V Westeel1,
  4. D Pernet1,
  5. A Dubiez1,
  6. C Perrin1,
  7. J-J Laplante3,
  8. A Depierre1,
  9. J-C Dalphin1
  1. 1Department of Chest Diseases, University Hospital, Besançon, France
  2. 2Department of Public Health, University Hospital, Besançon, France
  3. 3Medical Department of the “Mutualité Sociale Agricole du Doubs”, Besançon, France
  1. Correspondence to:
 Prof. J-C Dalphin
 Dept of Chest Diseases, CHU–Hôpital Jean Minjoz, Boulevard Fleming, 25030 Besançon CEDEX, France; jean-charles.dalphin{at}


Aims: To compare respiratory status in dairy farmers with that of non-farming controls.

Methods: Longitudinal study in the Doubs (France). From a cohort constituted in 1994 (T1), 215 (81.1%) dairy farmers and 110 (73.8%) controls were reevaluated in 1999 (T2). The protocol comprised a medical and occupational questionnaire, spirometric tests at both evaluations, allergological tests at T1, and a non-invasive measure of blood oxygen saturation (Spo2) at T2.

Results: In 1999 analyses, the prevalence of chronic bronchitis was higher (p = 0.013), and FEV1/VC (p < 0.025) and Spo2 (−0.7%, p < 0.01) lower in dairy farmers than in controls. In a multiple linear regression model, farming, age, and smoking were significantly and inversely correlated with Spo2. In the whole population, the mean annual decline in FEV1 and FEV1/VC was −13.4 ml and −0.30%, respectively. Farming was associated with an accelerated decline in FEV1/VC (p < 0.025) after adjustment for covariates. No relation between allergy and respiratory function changes was observed, except for FEF25–75.

Conclusions: This prospective study shows that dairy farming is associated with an excess of chronic bronchitis, with a moderate degree of bronchial obstruction and a mild decrease in Spo2.

  • farming
  • longitudinal study of respiratory function
  • oxygen saturation
  • CPOD, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • CS, current smoker
  • ES, ex-smoker
  • FEF25–75, forced mid-expiratory flow
  • FEV1, forced expiratory volume in one second
  • NS, non-smoker
  • Spo2, blood oxygen saturation
  • VC, vital capacity
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  • The study was supported by the SERF Group (EA 2276), French Ministry of National Education, Research and Technology, and by the CNMRT (“Comité National de lutte contre les Maladies Respiratoires et la Tuberculose”)

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