Respiratory Health

Red tractor stirs up dust in the field

Respiratory health is a major concern for farmers, farmworkers, and their families due to high exposure levels of air pollution while working outside (e.g., environmental dust, transportation, and/or agricultural practices). Some of the highest rates of asthma in the country are in the California Central Valley, which is the primary center for agricultural production and some of the country's highest air pollution levels.

Agricultural workers can also be exposed to allergens that may exacerbate respiratory disease from working in close proximity to animals, such as densely populated dairy or chicken farms. California's dairy industry is larger than that of any other state. It provides billions of dollars to the State's economy and is a major employer of agricultural labor. 

WCAHS research has included studies of pneumoconios (small airway disease) in young, male California farmworkers from agricultural dust exposure, whether farmworkers are at increased risk for coccidiodomycosis (Valley fever), and the effects on worker exposure to toxic air pollutants from new chicken caging laws in California (and elsewhere), as well as on dairy farms.


Respiratory Health and Dairies

A survey of particulate matter on California dairy farms. Garcia J, Bennett D, Tancredi D, Schenker MB, Mitloehner F. Journal of Environmental Quality 2013 Jan-Feb; 42(1):40-7. PMID: 23673737

Activation of inflammatory responses in human U937 macrophages by particulate matter collected from dairy farms: An in vitro expression analysis of proinflammatory markers. Vogel C, Garcia J, Mitchell D, Kado N, Tancredi D, Wu D, Trujillo DA, Bennett DH, Schenker MB, Mitloehner FM. Environ Health. 2012 Mar 28;11:17. PMCID: PMC3342144

Acute pulmonary function change associated with work on large dairies in California. Eastman C, Schenker MB, Mitchell DC, Trancredi DJ, Bennett DH, Mitloehner FM. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. 2013 Jan; 55(1):74-9. PMID: 23235464

Characterization of endotoxin collected on California dairies using personal and area-based sampling methods. Garcia J, Bennett DH, Tancredi DJ, Schenker MB, Mitchell DC, Reynolds SJ, Silva R, Dooley GP, Mehaffy J, Mitloehner FM. J Occup Environ Hyg 2012;9(10):580-91. PMID: 22946649

Occupational exposure to particulate matter and endotoxin for California dairy workers. Garcia J, Bennett DH, Tancredi D, Schenker MB, Mitchell D, Reynolds SJ, Mitloehner FM. Int J Hyg Environ Health 2013 Jan;216(1):56-62. PMID: 22579491

Particulate matter, endotoxin, and worker respiratory health on large Californian dairies. Mitchell DC, Armitage TL, Schenker MB, Bennett DH, Tancredi DJ, Langer CE, Reynolds SJ, Dooley G, Mehaffy J, Mitloehner FM. J Occup Environ Med 2015 Jan;57(1):79-87. PMID: 25563544

Systematic review of respiratory health among dairy workers. Reynolds SJ, Nonnenmann MW, Basinas I, Davidson M, Elfman L, Gordon J, Kirychuck S, Reed S, Schaeffer JW, Schenker MB, Schlunssen V, Sigsgaard T. J Agromedicine. 2013;18(3):219-43. PMID: 23844790

Respiratory Health and Hen-Laying Facilities

Cage versus noncage laying-hen housings: Respiratory exposures. Arteaga V, Mitchell D, Armitage T, Tancredi D, Schenker M, Mitloehner F. J Agromedicine. 2015;20(3):245-55. PMID: 26237714

Cage versus noncage laying-hen housings: Worker respiratory health. Mitchell DC, Arteaga VE, Armitage TL, Mitloehner FM, Tancredi DJ, Kenyon NJ, Schenker MB. J Agromedicine. 2015;20(3):256-64. PMID: 26237715

Lung toxicity in mice of airborne particulate matter from a modern layer hen facility containing Proposition 2-compliant animal caging. Franzi LM, Linderholm AL, Rabowsky M, Last JA. Toxicol Ind Health. 2016 Mar 3; Epub ahead of print. PMID: 26939833


Respiratory Health and Agricultural Work

Agricultural work exposures and pulmonary function among hired farm workers in California (the MICASA study). Rodriquez EJ, Schenker MB, Stoecklin-Marois MT, Bennett DH, Tancredi DJ. J Agromedicine. 2014;19(4):427-36. PMID: 25275408

Occupational exposures and migration factors associated with respiratory health in California Latino farm workers: The MICASA study. Stoecklin-Marois MT, Bigham CW, Bennett D, Tancredi DJ, Schenker MB. J Occup Environ Med 2015 Feb;57(2):152-8. PMID: 25654515

Occupational exposure to particulate matter from three agricultural crops in California. Garcia J, Bennett D, Tancredi D, Schenker MB. Int J Hyg Environ Health 2014 Mar;217(2-3):226-230. PMID: 23831254


Respiratory Health and Particulate Matter Exposure

A high-efficiency, low-biased method for extracting particulate matter from filter and impactor substrates. Bein KJ, Wexler AS. Atmospheric Environment. 2014;90:87-95

A quantitative comparison of administration of coarse PM intranasally and intratracheally in the mouse. Linderholm AL, Franzi LM, Bein KJ, Pinkerton KE, Last JA. Integrative Pharmacology, Toxicology and Genotoxicology 2015;1(1):2-7. DOI: 10.15761/IPTG.1000103

Allergic airway inflammation is differentially exacerbated by daytime and nighttime ultrafine and submicron fine ambient particles: heme oxygenase-1 as an indicator of PM-mediated allergic inflammation. Carosino CM, Bein KJ, Plummer LE, Castañeda AR, Zhao Y, Wexler AS, Pinkerton KE. J Toxicol Environ Health A. 2015;78(4):254-66. PMID: 25679046

Compositional variance in extracted particulate matter using different filter extraction techniques. Bein KJ, Wexler AS. Atmospheric Environment. 2015;107:24-34.

Influences of season and location on pulmonary response to California’s San Joaquin Valley airborne particulate matter. Plummer LE, Ham WH, Kleeman MJ, Wexler AE, Pinkerton KE. J Toxicol Environ Health A 2012;75(5):253-271. PMID: 22409489

Impact of air pollution on lung inflammation and the role of Toll-like receptors. Plummer LE, Smiley-Jewell S, Pinkerton KE. International Journal of Interferon, Cytokine and Mediator Research 2012;4:43-57.

Investigating the effects of particulate matter on house dust mite and ovalbumin allergic airway inflammation in mice. Castañeda AR, Pinkerton KE. Curr Protoc Toxicol. 2016 May 4;68:18.18.1-18.18.18. PMID: 27145110

Pulmonary inflammatory effects of source-oriented particulate matter from California’s San Joaquin Valley. Plummer LE, Carosino CM, Bein KJ, Zhao Y, Willits N, Smiley-Jewell S, Wexler AS, Pinkerton KE. Atmospheric Environment. 2015 Oct 1;119:174-181. PMCID: PMC4639935