The adverse respiratory effects of agricultural dust inhalation are mediated in part by endotoxin, a constituent of gram-negative bacterial cell walls. This study quantified personal work-shift exposures to inhalable dust, endotoxin, and its reactive 3-hydroxy fatty acid (3-OHFA) constituents among workers in grain elevators, cattle feedlots, dairies, and on corn farms. Exposures were compared with post-work-shift nasal lavage fluid inflammation markers and respiratory symptoms. Breathing-zone personal air monitoring was performed over one work shift to quantify inhalable dust (Institute of Medicine samplers), endotoxin (recombinant factor C [rFC] assay), and 3-OHFA (gas chromatography/mass spectrometry). Post-shift nasal lavage fluids were assayed for polymorphonuclear neutrophils (PMN), myeloperoxidase (MPO), interleukin 8 (IL-8), albumin, and eosinophilic cation protein (ECP) concentrations. The geometric mean (GSD) of endotoxin exposure (rFC assay) among the 125 male participants was 888 ± (6.5) EU/m3, and 93% exceeded the proposed exposure limit (50 EU/m3). Mean PMN, MPO, albumin, and ECP levels were two- to threefold higher among workers in the upper quartile of 3-OHFA exposure compared to the lowest exposure quartile. Even numbered 3-OHFA were most strongly associated with nasal inflammation. Symptom prevalence was not elevated among exposed workers, possibly due to endotoxin tolerance or a healthy worker effect in this population. This is the first study to evaluate the relationship between endotoxin's 3-OHFA constituents in agricultural dust and nasal airway inflammation. More research is needed to characterize the extent to which these agents contribute to respiratory disease among agricultural workers.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||18|
|Journal||Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health - Part A: Current Issues|
|State||Published - Jan 2010|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis