Agricultural dust exposure and respiratory symptoms among California farm operators

Marc B Schenker, Jeffrey A. Farrar, Diane C. Mitchell, Rocsieiie S. Green, Steven J. Samuels, Robert J. Lawson, Stephen A Mccurdy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Objective: To study whether dust exposure in California agriculture is a risk factor for respiratory symptoms. Methods: A population-based survey of 1947 California farmers collected respiratory symptoms, occupational and personal exposures. Associations between dust and respiratory symptoms were assessed by logistic regression models. Results: The prevalence of persistent wheeze was 8.6%, chronic bronchitis 3.8%, chronic cough 4.2%, and asthma 7.8%. Persistent wheeze was independently associated with dust in a dose-response fashion odds ratio, 1.2 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.8-2.0) and 1.8 (95% CI = 1.1-3.2) for low and high time in dust. A borderline significant association between chronic bronchitis and dust exposure was found. Asthma was associated with keeping livestock, but not with dust exposure. Conclusions: Occupational dust exposure among California farmers, only one third of whom tended animals, was independently associated with chronic respiratory symptoms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1157-1166
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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