Temporal variation of indoor air quality in an enclosed swine confinement building

Patrick T. O'Shaughnessy, Chandran Achutan, Arlin W. Karsten

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle

21 Scopus citations


Human health hazards can exist in swine confinement buildings due to poor indoor air quality (IAQ). During this study, airborne dust and ammonia concentrations were monitored within a working farrowing facility as indicators of IAQ. The purposes of this study were to assess the temporal variability of the airborne dust and ammonia levels over both a daily and seasonal basis, and to determine the accuracy of real-time sensors relative to actively sampled data. An ammonia sensor, aerosol photometer, indoor relative humidity sensor, and datalogger containing an indoor temperature sensor were mounted on a board 180 cm above the floor in the center of a room in the facility. Sensor readings were taken once every 4 minutes during animal occupancy (3-week intervals). Measurements of total and respirable dust concentrations by standard method, aerosol size distribution, and ammonia concentrations were taken once per week, in addition to temperature and relative humidity measurements using a thermometer and sling psychrometer, respectively. Samples were taken between September 1999 and August 2000. Diurnal variations in airborne dust revealed an inverse relationship with changes in indoor temperature and, by association, changes in airflow rate. Ammonia levels changed despite relatively stable internal temperatures. This change may be related to both changes in flow rates and in volatility rates. As expected, contaminant concentrations increased during the cold weather months, but these differences were not significantly different from other seasons. However, total dust concentrations were very low (geometric mean = 0.8 mg/m3) throughout the year. Likewise, ammonia concentrations averaged only 3.6 ppm in the well-maintained study site.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Number of pages16
Specialist publicationJournal of agricultural safety and health
StatePublished - Nov 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Air quality
  • Animal housing
  • Real-time sensors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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