206941 Satellite Remote Sensing of Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations: An Application of an Emerging Tool in Environmental Exposure Assessment

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Beth J. Feingold, MESc, MPH , Department of Environmental Health Sciences, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD
Jessica Leibler, MS , Department of Environmental Health Sciences, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD
Ellen K. Silbergeld, PhD , Department of Environmental Health Sciences, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD
Recent studies have demonstrated associations between concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) and adverse public health effects from the release of antibiotic drugs, drug resistant pathogens, chemicals and odors into the environment. Due to limited national and state CAFO regulations, there is no updated inventory or searchable database of farm locations for researchers or community members to query. As a result, studies on the impacts of CAFOs are relatively sparse, as are projections of potential health risks and environmental impacts associated with an increasing density of industrial animal production such as respiratory problems, contaminated drinking water, and emerging infectious diseases. Satellite remote sensing is a novel tool that offers a robust solution for cost-effective mapping of CAFOs on myriad regional scales. Our goal is to develop a satellite remote sensing tool to identify the locations of intensive animal production in an automated way, based on spatial and spectral signatures of animal houses and manure lagoons, using a mixture of model building and classification techniques. Employing spatial statistics and geographic information systems, our analysis combines information from the imagery with demographic and environmental characteristics such as population density, transportation networks and sensitive ecosystems in order to ascertain the environmental health impacts of CAFOs. This tool will aid researchers in assessing routes of human exposure and improve community access to information on these key agricultural sources of pollution. We will demonstrate usage of our methods in Delaware (chicken farms) and North Carolina (swine farms) and discuss applications for research and public health practice.

Learning Objectives:
Discuss how satellite remote sensing can offer cost-effective solutions to mapping individual concentrated animal feeding operations and how implementation of such tools can aid in pollution modeling and environmental exposure assessment.

Keywords: Animal Waste, Geographic Information Systems

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a PhD student in Environmental Health and this project is a component of my research.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.