Determinants of personal dust exposure during field crop operations in California agriculture

Mark J. Nieuwenhuijsen, Marc B Schenker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

32 Scopus citations


The aim of this study was to identify determinants, if any, of personal dust exposure levels during agricultural field crop operations in California. Personal dust concentrations were measured with four-stage cascade impactors and respirable dust cyclones. Altogether, 57 cascade impactor measurements and 63 cyclone measurements were used for analyses. High personal dust concentrations were measured during most operations, in particular during ground preparation operations such as land planing and discing. For the larger dust particles, which is dust collected on all stages of the cascade impactor and dust with a 50% cutoff < 9.8 μm, the most important determinants of personal dust exposure were the presence of an enclosed cabin, relative humidity, type of operation, and tractor speed. The presence of an enclosed cabin on the tractor, higher relative humidity, and lower tractor speed were all associated with a decrease in personal dust levels. For smaller dust particles, which is dust with a 50% cutoff < 3.5-4 μm, the presence of an enclosed cabin, relative humidity, and soil temperature appear to be related to dust levels. The results of this study could be used to reduce the high levels of personal dust exposure currently experienced by those who work in field crop farming in California.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9-13
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Industrial Hygiene Association Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1998



  • Agriculture
  • Cabin
  • Cascade impactor
  • Cyclone
  • Determinants
  • Dust

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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