Occupational Exposure to Endotoxins in Airborne Particles in Kentucky’s Equine Industry

Completed Pilot Project

Jooyeon Hwang, College of Public Health, Western Kentucky University Department  of Public Health

Adverse respiratory health effects in the agricultural industry have been linked to organic particles that contain endotoxin.  However, whether the endotoxin concentration is significantly correlated to the size of the particle remains an open question.  To date, minimal research has been conducted to assess exposure levels to endotoxin-contaminated particles in the equine industry.  This study had three objectives:  1) to measure the endotoxin exposure levels of inhalable and respirable particles; 2) to characterize the exposure assessment by job tasks/work activities and sectors; and 3) to recommend improvements to existing control measures in the equine industry.  The knowledge and perspectives gained through this work will provide not only the equine industry but also the scientific community with critical information for implementing occupational exposure limits (OEL) for endotoxins based on particle size.