03/18/2009

Exposure to Dust and Endotoxin of Employees in Cucumber and Tomato Nurseries

Exposure to bioaerosols in occupational settings is associated with a range of
adverse health effects. The aim of a study, published in the Annals of
Occupational Hygiene, was to investigate the exposure levels to dust and
endotoxin of people working in two cucumber nurseries and two tomato nurseries.
Exposure was measured for greenhouse workers mainly working on harvesting
cucumbers and tomatoes and clearing the plants after the harvest season.
Endotoxin was present in relatively high concentrations on cucumber leaves
compared with leaves on pot plants. Clearing tomato plants after the harvest
season caused a higher exposure to endotoxin than tomato harvesting.

In conclusion, people working in cucumber and tomato nurseries were often
exposed to high levels of inhalable dust and endotoxin. Cucumber harvest
workers were exposed to significantly more dust and endotoxin than tomato
harvest workers. The dust and endotoxin aerosolized during the working
processes were only transported to other areas in the greenhouses to a very low
degree. Cucumber and tomato leaves were identified as endotoxin reservoirs.


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AplusA-online.de - Source: Annals of Occupational Hygiene