Online Program

Assessment of dust exposure and lung function in agricultural workers

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Caroline Holsinger, DrPH, MPH, CPH, College of Public Health, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY
Devon Collins, MPH, CPH, CHES, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY
Objectives:Dust exposure continues to be a contributing factor to morbidity and mortality among agriculture workers. Agricultural dust exposure, therefore, identifies a population of individuals who are at an increased risk for having undiagnosed lower respiratory illnesses, such as COPD. Recent epidemiologic studies have suggested that organic and inorganic dust helps to explain 20 percent of the patients with COPD. The research goal of this proposal will identify those individuals with agricultural exposure to either compounds and evaluate their risk for COPD.

Methods: A total of 150 people will be recruited at three farm show events across Appalachia (Virginia, Kentucky, & Pennsylvania) to participate in a cross-sectional study evaluating respiratory function among agricultural workers exposed to dust particles. Participants will be asked to complete a survey that gathers information on dust exposure related to agriculture practices and respiratory illness history. The overall goal of the survey is to quantify the amount of dust exposure individuals report and obtain important information on covariates such as smoking history, past/current respiratory illness, and family history. Further, the research team will screen each participant using a Vitalograph device. The Vitalograph COPD screening device is a quick, non-invasive method to measure FEV1/FEV6 identifying individuals at risk for COPD and is considered effective for early diagnosis.

Results/Conclusion:Preliminary findings suggest that compared to participants who report no dust exposure, those individuals with dust exposure are more likely to have an abnormal Vitalograph result. Complete results will be completed by the spring of 2015.

Learning Areas:

Chronic disease management and prevention
Occupational health and safety

Learning Objectives:
Explain the impact organic and inorganic dust exposure has among agricultural workers. Identify a group of agricultural workers who are suffering from reduced lung function as a result of occupational dust exposure. Formulate effective and innovative ways to prevent individuals at risk for respiratory conditions.

Keyword(s): Occupational Health and Safety

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have practiced epidemiology for over 5 years working in local and state government. Additionally, I worked as a research coordinator on several grants that focused on the epidemiology of chronic and communicable diseases. As a doctoral student, my scientific interest is respiratory disease among occupational groups. Additionally, I am funded through the Central Appalachian Regional Education and Research Center which offers research, education, and training opportunities that address needs in occupational safety and health.
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.