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Respiratory Risk Associated with Agriculture, Emphasis on Organic Dusts

Thomas J. Ferguson, M.D., Ph.D.


Agricultural processes generate occupational exposures to a variety of potential pulmonary toxicants including chemical, physical and biological agents. Study of these workers has been complicated by the often migratory nature of the exposed population and the resultant difficulty in collecting long-term epidemiologic data. Nevertheless, some of these exposures may result in respiratory effects and disease states such as chronic bronchitis, reactive airways diseases, hypersensitivity pneumonitis, and perhaps restrictive lung disease. Methods for assessing the incidence of such lung diseases among agricultural workers are reviewed. The processes and techniques used for studying the prevalence of occupational lung disease are summarized. The literature with respect to lung disease among workers in various agricultural endeavors is reviewed with special emphasis on studies from the past ten years and recommendations for future research.

Reprinted from Proceedings of the 1998 Beltwide Cotton Conferences pp. 207 - 210
©National Cotton Council, Memphis TN

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Document last modified Sunday, Dec 6 1998