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Breathe Easy: Respiratory Hazards on the Farm

By Bonita Mechor
Canadian Centre for Health and Safety in Agriculture
July 4, 2012

Respiratory hazards on the farm are a major concern for the agricultural industry.  This DVD/Video focuses on farming related respiratory health issues including respiratory disease, chemical and environmental exposures in the workplace.

Farmers and agricultural workers are exposed to many dusts, gases, fumes, and chemicals that can affect their breathing.  Since many of the respiratory diseases take years to develop and occur inside our airways, the symptoms are not always immediately apparent, compared to a traumatic physical injury.

There are three major hazards for farmer’s respiratory health:

DUSTS:  It presents a major respiratory health issue for farmers.  Every farming operation is different.  Grains, molds & fungi, & livestock are sources of dust on the farm

GASES & MISTS: While chemicals protect plants from infestations and diseases it poses a threat to the farmer’s respiratory health.  Skin contact is the most likely route of exposure, but inhaling in the fumes during chemical preparation or application can also produce side effects.

Hazardous gases can get inside body cells and cause a wide range of health problems.  Some gases undergo a chemical reaction with the moisture in our airways to produce acids as such as sulphuric or nitric, causing irritation and damaging our airways.   

WELDING: Fumes from welding can cause respiratory and eye irritation.  Metal Fume Fever is one condition that arises from not wearing the right PPEs when welding.

Website: http://aghealth.usask.ca/resources/documents/video-breathe-easy.php

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