What is farm environmental health?
Environmental health concerns on farms include exposure to toxic gases, pesticides, hazardous agricultural chemicals, high levels of dust, infected animals, parasites, and molds.
Exposure to dangerous gases from fermenting crops in silos can cause fluid to build up in the lungs, and even cause death. Repeated exposure to molds on hay or other stored crops can cause “farmer’s lung,” an allergic inflammation of the lungs that can become life-threatening. Exposure to high levels of organic dust can cause Organic Dust Toxicity Syndrome, which causes cough, fever, chills, and muscle pain.
Farm animals can be a source of parasites and diseases that can be passed on to people. Pits of animal manure can generate deadly gases, causing oxygen depletion, asphyxiation, and death.
Other agricultural health threats include work-related lung diseases, cancers, nasal inflammation, arthritis, asthma, dermatitis, and respiratory diseases such as bronchitis.
Web Links from MedlinePlus (National Library of Medicine)
Farm Health and Safety
Rural Health Concerns
Agricultural Operations (Occupational Safety and Health Administration)
Agricultural Waste (Environmental Protection Agency)
Agriculture (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health)
Children's Agricultural Tasks (National Children's Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety)
Education (Farm Safety 4 Just Kids)
Farmworkers. Haz-Map (National Library of Medicine)
Hazardous Waste Management on the Farm (Purdue University)
National Ag Safety Database (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health)
National Agriculture Compliance Assistance Center home page (Environmental Protection Agency)
Simple Solutions: Ergonomics for Farm Workers (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health)
Last Updated: May 21, 2008