Bioaerosol in Composting Facilities: Occupational Health Risk Assessment

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Abstract:

This research found evidence of an association between occupational exposure to bioaerosols in composting plants and health outcome occurrence in exposed workers. An occupational exposure assessment in six composting plants was performed to better characterize personal exposure levels and evaluate associated health risk in workers. Sampling results showed large ranges of concentrations of dust, bacteria, molds, and endotoxin in ambient air and in personal samples, both when driving a front-end loader and when cleaning, monitoring, and performing maintenance tasks. Mean personal exposure levels were high at 100 to more than 10 000 times higher than outdoor background levels and fully consistent with occurrence of inflammatory and allergic respiratory outcomes among workers. Engineering control, personal protection, and education and training programs for employees, health, and safety officials, and occupational physicians are being developed and implemented.

Keywords: air microbiology; allergens; bioaerosol; composting; endotoxin; health; occupational exposure

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2175/106143009X407258

Publication date: September 1, 2009

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  • Water Environment Research® (WER®) publishes peer-reviewed research papers, research notes, state-of-the-art and critical reviews on original, fundamental and applied research in all scientific and technical areas related to water quality, pollution control, and management. An annual Literature Review provides a review of published books and articles on water quality topics from the previous year.

    Published as: Sewage Works Journal, 1928 - 1949; Sewage and Industrial Wastes, 1950 - 1959; Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, 1959 - Oct 1989; Research Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, Nov 1989 - 1991; Water Environment Research, 1992 - present.
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