Poultry production is an integral part of agriculture and of the U.S. economy, accounting for millions of eggs and chicken products consumed annually. Most ubiquitous to the poultry industry from farm production to research are broiler and layer poultry operations, with pullet operations at the forefront. Although essential to the cycles of production, there is a dearth of evidence regarding the occupational exposure risks of pullet production. The aim of this case study was to measure total dust and ammonia levels during the growth cycle of pullets. Ammonia and total dust concentrations were measured as single day measurements at three different points of time during the 16.5-week growth cycle of pullet flocks using two fixed sampling stations configured to represent the breathing zone height of poultry workers. As birds grew from chicks to hens, concentrations of total dust and ammonia increased. Notably, from 3 weeks-of-age to 9 weeks-of-age concentrations of total dust increased from 1.1–1.2 mg/m3 to 16.0–18.0 mg/m3; and from 9 weeks-of-age to 15 weeks-of-age, dust concentrations reached 43.0–50.0 mg/m3. Concentrations of ammonia also increased from 9 weeks to 15 weeks from 1.1–2.7 ppm to 22.0–30.0 ppm. Both levels of ammonia and total dust reached levels that have the potential to induce adverse health effects among farmers raising pullets.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health