Abstract of article in the Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health, 5(4):383-394, August 1999

A Portable Environmental Monitoring System to Assess Barn Worker Indoor Air Exposure.* Chris A. Ouellette,** John J. R. Feddes,** Irene I. Wenger,*** and Ernie M. Barber+

A personal environmental sampling backpack (PESB) was constructed to assess acute worker exposure in poultry and swine operations. The PESB is capable of recording, on a minute-by-minute basis over an 8-h period, the following environmental parameters: temperature (-40 to 70C, lC), relative humidity (RH) (0-100% @ 25C, 2%), ammonia (NH3) (0-50 ppm, 5% of reading), carbon dioxide (C02) (0-5000 ppm, 5% of reading), and dust (0.3, 0.5, 1 and 5 mm). These environmental conditions are measured via thermistor (temperature), capacitance (RH), electrochemical (NH3), non-dispersive infrared (CO2), and laser (dust). For endotoxin and gravimetric dust measurements, the PESB contains two constant airflow pumps, which can deliver airflow rates of 0.5 to 3.0 L/min. By sampling barn air within the breathing zone of the worker (a 0.3 m radius around the mouth) the PESB can monitor a worker's personal exposure over their entire work shift. The PESB has also been designed to minimize equipment cleaning between barns, required by stringent biosecurity protocols. Through the use of a watertight case and an anti-microbial exhaust filter for sampled air, only the carrying pack and external tubing needs to be subjected to thorough cleaning and disinfection to maintain biosecurity. The PESB weighs 8.42 kg (18.57 lbs) with dimensions of 388 mm (h) x 288 mm (w) x 173 mm (d) (15.28 in. x 11.34 in. x 6.81 in.).

*Presented, in part, at the Fourth International Symposium "Rural Health and Safety, in a Changing World" held October 18-22, 1998 in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.

**Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science (AFNS), University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, T6G 2P5. (John Feddes, phone (780) 492-0105, fax (780) 492-9130, e-mail jfeddes@afns.ualberta.ca.)

***Department of Public Health Sciences, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, T6G 2P5.

+College of Agriculture, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.


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