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Particulate Matter, Endotoxin, and Worker Respiratory Health on Large Californian Dairies



To assess respiratory exposures and lung function in a cross-sectional study of California dairy workers.


Exposure of 205 dairy and 45 control (vegetable processing) workers to particulate matter and endotoxin was monitored. Pre- and postshift spirometry and interviews were conducted.


Geometric mean inhalable and PM2.5 concentrations were 812 and 35.3 μg/m3 versus 481.9 and 19.6 μg/m3, respectively, for dairy and control workers. Endotoxin concentrations were 329 EU/m3 or 1122 pmol/m3 and 13.5 EU/m3 or 110 pmol/m3, respectively, for dairy and control workers. In a mixed-effects model, forced vital capacity decreased across a work shift by 24.5 mL (95% confidence interval, -44.7 to -4.3; P = 0.018) with log10 (total endotoxin) and by 22.0 mL (95% confidence interval, -43.2 to -0.08; P = 0.042) per hour worked.


Modern California dairy endotoxin exposures and shift length were associated with a mild acute decrease in forced vital capacity.

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