Disparity in Ammonia Measuring Methods

CANADA - Preliminary research conducted by the Saskatoon based Prairie Swine Centre suggests commercial gas monitoring devices used in swine barns tend to indicate the presence of higher levels of ammonia than would the standard methods for measuring ammonia, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 15 July 2010
clock icon 3 minute read

The Prairie Swine Centre is in the midst of evaluating methods for controlling and monitoring occupational exposure of workers in swine facilities.

Researchers are assessing the effectiveness of canola oil sprinkling, low-protein diet, high-level cleaning and manure pH manipulation, in reducing ammonia and respirable dust concentrations in swine production rooms and assessing the performance of commercial gas monitoring devices using the standard gas measurement method as a reference.

Dr Bernardo Predacala, a research scientist in engineering, notes workers should not be exposed to ammonia levels exceeding 25 parts per million and, over the two trials completed so far, those limits have not been exceeded.

Dr Bernardo Predacala – Prairie Swine Centre:

We found that there's significant disparity in the levels that these two methods are showing us in terms of the levels of ammonia.

The levels shown by the commercial gas monitors are significantly higher than the levels you obtain using the standard method.

Because these commercial gas devices are widely used in the industry, as long as workers are able to monitor their level of actual exposure in their barns, then they'll probably be safe because what they're seeing is actually sometimes higher than what the standard method usually yields.

If a regulator for example comes into their barn and does the measurement using the standard method then the regulator would see values that were typically lower than what the barn operator would be seeing using their own commercial gas devices

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