Exposure to dust and its particle size distribution in California agriculture

Mark J. Nieuwenhuijsen, Hanneke Kruize, Marc B Schenker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


The aim of this study was to measure personal dust exposure levels and the dust particle size distribution during various agricultural operations in California. Personal dust exposure levels were measured with four-stage cascade impactors and respirable dust cyclones during field crop, fruit and nut farming, and dairy operations at three farms. Altogether, 103 cascade impactor measurements and 108 cyclone measurements were taken. High personal dust exposure levels were measured during various operations, in particular during ground preparation operations such as land planing (geometric mean [GM] = 57.3 mg/m3, geometric standard deviation [GSD] = 2.4) and discing (GM = 98.6 mg/m3, GSD = 2.9). Dust particles were relatively large and the great majority belonged to the extrathoracic fraction. Dust levels were considerably lower when an enclosed cabin was present on the tractor; for example, during discing, dust exposure levels were reduced more than sixtyfold for the larger dust particle fraction and more than fourfold for the respirable dust fraction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)34-38
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Industrial Hygiene Association Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1998


  • Agriculture
  • Dust
  • Particle size
  • Respirable dust

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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