The Adverse Health Effects of Hog Production Lit - Adverse Health

By Amber Phillips,2014-05-20 11:01
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Reducing ammonia emissions from Animal Feeding Operations makes sense not only for the obvious public health benefits, but also for economic reasons.

    Adverse Health Effects Of Hog Production

    A Literature Review

Ammonia emissions from hog farms pose a serious public

    health threat.

    • Ammonia emissions from hog farms react with other gases in the air to form

    fine particle pollution, a public health threat linked to decreased lung function,

    cardiovascular ailments and most seriously, premature death.1

    • Recent analysis by NC State University (NCSU) researchers shows that fine

    particulate pollution is higher in Raleigh (and likely for all of the Triangle area)

    when air masses cross the high density hog counties on the way to Raleigh.2

    This analysis also found fine particulate levels in a rural

    town (Kenansville) in a high density hog county were very high relative to what

    would be expected.

    • The 2003 National Academy of Sciences3 report identified atmospheric ammonia nitrogen emissions as the most significant public health threat from

    Animal Feeding Operations4 on a regional scale.

    • Reducing ammonia emissions from Animal Feeding Operations makes sense

    not only for the obvious public health benefits, but also for economic reasons.

    The Benefit Cost Analysis conducted by Research Triangle Institute for the

    NCSU hog waste management evaluations found that a 50% reduction in

    ammonia emissions from hog farms in eastern NC will provide an

    estimated $190 million a year in benefits from avoided health impacts.5

Air emissions from lagoons, sprayfields and hog houses have

    been linked to neurological and respiratory problems.

    • Subjects in a controlled exposure chamber who were exposed to air from hog operations for one hour reported headaches, eye irritation and nausea.6

    • Unpleasant odors have been found to be a nuisance and emotional stressor on

    neighbors,7 and are known to contain irritants that can cause damage to mucosal

    linings in the nose, throat and respiratory tract.8 • The 2003 National Academy of Sciences report identified odor as the most

    significant concern for local communities among the suite of air emission

    problems from Animal Feeding Operations.

    • Researchers from the UNC School of Public Health and Duke University found

    that neighbors exposed to odors from hog operations showed evidence of

    reduced immune system function.9

    • Evidence is also emerging that indicates that the health of citizens living near

    hog operations is negatively affected.10 Research in Iowa and North Carolina showed that neighbors living within three miles of hog operations experience

    elevated levels of respiratory complaints relative to those living near other animal

    production operations or crop production.11,12 • Abhorrent odors can be exacerbated by the smell and sight of rotting flesh from

    hog carcasses that are often stored in “dead boxes” close to neighbors’ property

    lines. "Dead trucks" that transport hog carcasses to rendering facilities also emit



Hydrogen Sulfide Emissions

    • Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) is a colorless gas with a strong odor of rotten eggs that

    is detectable at concentrations as low as 0.5 ppb (0.0007 mg/m3). Acute

    exposures to H2S at 2 10 ppm have been associated with respiratory and

    cardiovascular effects, and people with asthma appear to be more sensitive to

    H2S reporting headaches following 30 minute exposures to 2 ppm.13 The EPA

    also reports that acute occupational exposures have been associated with a

    variety of central

    nervous system (CNS) transitory symptoms, such as dizziness, nausea,

    headache, and at higher exposure concentrations, serious conditions such as

    “abrupt physical collapse” and pulmonary edema.14 • The 2003 National Academy of Sciences report, noting hydrogen sulfide’s risks

    to public health, recommended that the EPA and USDA should develop process-

    based mathematical models for atmospheric emissions of hydrogen sulfide,

    along with ammonia and methane, to identify management changes that

    decrease emissions.

    • Of particular concern is the susceptibility of children to neurological effects

    associated with H2S exposure.15

    • The EPA Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards is in the process of re-

    evaluating H2S toxicity to determine if it requires specific regulation.16 The

    neurotoxicity has been cited as one of the principle reasons for increased


    • In light of these efforts by the EPA Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards,

    it would seem reasonable and practical to continue to collect emissions data, and

    use this information in the evaluation of potential health impacts that can be used

    to inform the decision-making process by the Office of Air Quality Planning and

    Standards. It is premature to cease collecting this information at a time when an

    analysis of the exposure conditions is warranted.

Hog waste contains disease-causing pathogens & increases

    antibiotic resistance.

• Hogs and humans share many of the same disease organisms. Large

    quantities of antibiotics, many closely related to those used to treat humans, are

    used by pork and other livestock and poultry producers.17 • Environment Defense reported in 200518 that North Carolina’s animal production industry, which is largely comprised of hog and poultry production, is

    estimated to use three million pounds of antibiotics annually. This is

    approximately the same amount of antibiotics that is estimated to be used

    nationally to treat humans.

    • The vast majority of antibiotics are administered not to treat disease but rather

    to promote growth or to compensate for the crowded, stressful and often

    unhygienic conditions in industrial-scale livestock operations. An expanding body

    of evidence19,20 links this frequent exposure of antibiotics to the development of

antibiotic-resistant pathogens, contributing to the problem of reduced antibiotic

    effectiveness in humans, a growing health concern in the United States.

    • There are also concerns about the exposure of workers or neighbors to

    antibiotics in the dust generated in the hog confinement facilities, which are

    21,22 vented to the outdoors.

Evidence indicates adverse impacts on workers’ and children’s


    • An enormous amount of research exists to document the serious negative

    impacts to swine confinement house workers.23 Effects include respiratory symptoms, reductions in pulmonary function and increased bronchial


    • Researchers in Iowa found a high prevalence of asthma in children living on

    hog farms, especially farms that added antibiotics to feed.24,25

     A North Carolina study of 58,169 children found a 23% higher prevalence of

    asthma symptoms among students attending schools where staff noticed

    livestock odors indoors twice a month or more.26

Manure land application rates at hog Animal Feeding Operations

    result in high levelsof pollutants in groundwater and pose risks

    for drinking water wells.

    • Ground water nitrate levels beneath animal waste sprayfields are typically found

    to range from 10 to 50 parts per million (ppm).27 The drinking water standard for nitrate is 10 ppm. Even wells drilled to clean aquifers below surface

    contaminated groundwater aquifers are at risk because well casing construction

    flaws can allow leaks of highly contaminated groundwater into drinking water


    • Results from a free well-testing program for people living adjacent to hog farms

    in North Carolina in 1996 found more that 10% of the wells tested failed to meet

    drinking water standards for nitrate. Three wells had nitrate concentrations in the

    70 100 ppm range. The NC Department of

    Health and Human Services found that the results of the well testing program

    “…illustrate a potentially serious groundwater problem to the people utilizing

    wells near Industrial Livestock Operations in five counties in eastern North


Community health experts are recommending safeguards to

    protect the health of rural residents.

• Based on the 2003 American Public Health Association’s review of evidence of

    the health and economic impacts of concentrated animal feeding operations

    (CAFOs) 29 30 and “evidence, albeit less certain, indicating impacts on children

    and CAFO neighbors from exposure to large concentrations of manure and their

    subsequent emissions of dust, toxins, microbes, antibiotics and pollutants in the

    air and water,” the Association resolved that it would: Urge federal, state, and

    local governments, and public health agencies to impose a moratorium on new Concentrated Animal Feed Operations until additional scientific data on the attendant risks to public health have been collected and uncertainties resolved.

Community health experts are recommending safeguards to

    protect the health of rural residents.

• The American Public Health Association's recommendations were recently

    endorsed by a collection of American and European environmental scientists

    brought together in a symposium and workshop organized by the University of

    Iowa’s Environmental Health Science Research Center and sponsored by the

    National Institutes of Environmental Health Sciences. The endorsement emerged

    from an expert community health workgroup assembled at the workshop in

    2004, the results of which were recently published.31 The workgroup found that “…sufficient research exists to support action to protect rural residents from the

    negative community health effects of CAFOs….” Furthermore, the expert workgroup recommended that permitting of CAFOs should include: consideration of total animal density in a watershed; environmental impact statements; public meetings and local decision making; regulation with standards applied

    to general industry with similar levels of emissions and type of waste handling;

    and bonding for manure-storage basins for performance and remediation.

Prepared by Environmental Defense Fund, Incorporated, March 2008

    Joseph Rudek, Ph.D., 3

     References and Notes 1 Research Triangle Institute, 2003. “Benefits of Adopting Environmentally Superior Technologies in North Carolina,” available at RTI.pdf. 2 Goetz, S.B. 2006. Measurement, Analysis, and Modeling of Fine Particulate Matter in Eastern North Carolina. Master Thesis. NC State University, Raleigh, NC. 3 National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council, 2003. National Air Emissions from Animal Feeding Operations: Current Knowledge, Future Needs, National Academies Press, available at 4 Animal Feeding Operations are defined by EPA as operations where animals have been, or will be stabled and fed or maintained for a total of 45 days or more in any 12 month period and where vegetation is not sustained in the conferment area during the normal growing season. CAFOs or Concentrated Anmal Feeding Operations are essentially large AFOs exceeding a numerical threshold set by regulation. See Section 3.0 in 5 Research Triangle Institute, 2003. “Benefits of Adopting Environmentally Superior Technologies in North Carolina,” available at RTI.pdf. 6 Schiffman, S.S, Studwell, C.E., Landerman, L.R., Berman, K, Sundy, J.S., 2005. Symptomatic effects of exposure to dilute air samples from swine confinement atmosphere on healthy human subjects. Environmental. Health Perspectives, v.113:567-576. 7 Schiffman, S.S, Sattely Miller, EA, Suggs, M.S., Graham, B.G., 1995. The effect of environmental odors emanating from commercial swine operations on the mood of nearby residents. Brain Research Bulletin, v.4:369- 375. 8 McBride, A. D., 1998. The Association of Health Effects With Exposure to Odors from Hog Farm Operations. Report from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, State Health Director, available at 9 Avery, R.C., Wing, S., Marshall, S.W., Schiffman, S.S., 2004. Odor from industrial hog farming operations and mucosal immune function in neighbors. Archives of Environmental Health,v.59: 101-108. 10 Thu, K.U., 2004. Neighbor health and large-scale swine production. National Ag Safety Database Review, available at 11 Wing, S. and S. Wolf, 2000. Intensive Livestock Operations, Health, and Quality of Life Among Eastern North Carolina Residents. Envr. Health Perspectives, v. 108(3):233-238. Hog Operations: Health Effects Summary Prepared by Environmental Defense Fund, Incorporated, March 2008 Joseph Rudek, Ph.D., 5

12 Thu, K., K. Donham, R. Ziegenhorn, S. Reynolds, P. Thorne, P. Subramanian, P. Whitten, and J. Stookesberry, 1997. A control study of the physical and mental health of residents living near a large-scale swine operation. Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health, v. 3(1): 13-26. 13 National Research Council. 2003. Air Emissions from Animal Feeding Operations: Current Knowledge, Future Needs. Ad Hoc Committee on Air Emissions from Animal Feeding Operations, Committee on Animal Nutrition, National Research Council ISBN: 978-0-309-08705-6. Pages 66 - 68 14 US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). 2003. Toxicological Review of Hydrogen Sulfide (CAS No. 7783-06-4) In Support of Summary Information on the Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS), June 2003, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Washington, DCEPA/635/R-03/005 15 Hannah RS, Roth SH. 1991. Chronic exposure to low concentrations of hydrogen sulfide produces abnormal growth in developing Purkinje cells. Neurosci. Lett. 122: 225-228. 16 Brat I. 2007. A Gas Under Pressure: Health Concerns May Spur Hydrogen Sulfide Ruling; Move 'Costly' for Industry. Wall Street Journal, December 11, 2007; Page B1. 17 Gilchrist, M.J., Greko, C., Wallinga, D.B., Beran, G.W., Riley, D.G., Thorne, P.S., 2006. The potential of CAFOs in infectious disease epidemics and antibiotic resistance. Envr. Health Perspectives, available at 18 Florini, K., Denison, R., Stiffler, T., et al., 2005. Resistant Bugs and Antibiotic Drugs: State and County Estimates of Antibiotics in Animal Feed and Animal Waste, available at 19 Cui, S., Ge, B., Zheng, J., Meng, J., 2005. Prevalence and antimicrobial resistance of Campylobacter spp. and Salmonella serovars in organic chickens from Maryland retail stores. Applied and Envr Microbiology, v.71: 4108- 4111. 20 Price, L.B., Johnson, E., Vailes, R. Silbergeld, E., 2005. Fluorquinolone-resistant Campylobacter isolates from conventional and antibiotic-free chicken products. 21 Hamscher, G., Pawelzick, H.T., Sczesny, S., Nau, H., Hartung, J., 2003. Antibiotics in dust originating from a hog fattening farm: a new source of health hazard for farmers? Envr. Health Perspectives, v. 111:1590-1594. 22 Chapin, A., Ruke, A., Gibson, K., Buckley, T., Schwab, K., 2005. Airborne multidrug-resistant bacteria isolated from a concentrated swine feeding operation. Envr. Health Perspectives, v. 113:137- 142. 23 Dosman, J.A., Lawson, J.A., Kirychuk, S.P., Cormier, Y., Biem, J., Koehncke, N., 2004. Occupational asthma in newly employed workers in intensive swine confinement facilities. European Respiratory Journal, v. 24:698-702, available at 24 Merchant, J.A., Naleway, A.L., Svendsen, E.R., Kelly, K.M., Burmeister, L.F., Stromquist, A.M., Taylor, C.D., Thorne, P.S., Reynolds, S.J., Snaderson, W.T., Chrischilles, E.A., 2005. Asthma and Farm Exposure in a cohort of rural Iowa children. Envr Health Perspectives, v. 113:350-356, available at 25 Chrischilles, E., Ahrens, R., Kuehl, A., Kelly, K., Thorne, P., Burmeister, L., 2004. Journal Allergy Clin. Immunol, v. 113:66-71. 26 Mirabelli, M.C., Wing, S. Marshall, S.W., Wilcosky, T.C. 2006. Asthma symptoms among adolescents who attend public schools that are located near confined swine feeding operations. Pediatrics, v. 118:66-75. 27 Showers, Bill. Progress Report: Stable Nitrogen Isotopic Tracers of Excess Nitrogen Sources to the Neuse River Basin Estuary and Nearshore Waters, April 1, 1998. NC State University Stable Isotope Laboratory. 28 Rudo, Kenneth. Memo to Dennis McBride, State Health Director, RE: Nitrate Well Water Testing Program

Adjacent to Intensive Livestock Operations. August 14, 1998.

29 American Public Health Association. 2003. Policy Statements. 30 A CAFO (concentrated animal feeding operation) is a large AFO (Animal Feeding Operation) See endnote 4. Most of North Carolina’s hogs are grown in CAFOs. 31 Donham, K.J., Wing, S., Osterberg, D., Flora, J.L., Hodne, C., Thu, K.M., Thorne, P.S. 2006. Community health and socioeconomic issues surrounding CAFOs. Environmental Health Perspectives.

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