Reducing Airborne Contaminants in Swine Barns

CANADA - A research scientist with Prairie Swine Centre is recommending a number of strategies for reducing the levels of airborne contaminants in swine barns, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 3 March 2011
clock icon 3 minute read

The Saskatoon based Prairie Swine Centre has been conducting research aimed at reducing the occupational exposure of workers to the contaminants typically found in swine barns.

Workplace health and safety regulations limit the exposure of workers to a number of airborne contaminants.

Dr Bernardo Predicala, a researcher scientist in engineering, told those on hand yesterday in Portage La Prairie for the Prairie Swine Centre's series of spring producer meetings scientists examined four strategies aimed at reducing the levels of ammonia gas and respirable dust in swine barns as part of a one year trial.

Dr Bernardo Predicala-Prairie Swine Centre

Mainly the concern with this is if workers are exposed to high levels of these contaminants then they exhibit respiratory symptoms like getting sick, coughing, sneezing and those kinds of things.

That's why they are regulated to certain levels so we avoid having workers getting sick.

In this case we looked at levels of ammonia gas and then respirable dust.

The different measures that we applied in swine barns were, the first one is oil sprinkling.

It is where we applied certain amounts of oil into the environment in selected rooms.

The other one is using a certain chemical to manipulate the pH of the manure because we know that by doing that we are able to control the emissions of certain gases from the manure.

The third one is we fed the pigs with a low crude protein diet because we know this could lead to a reduction in emissions from the excretions of the pigs.

The fourth one is some sort of high level of cleaning of the barn, of the room itself, higher than the normal standard cleaning practices that's done in the room and of course the fourth one is a control where the room was just managed according to normal production practices.

Dr Predicala says sprinkling small amounts of oil within the room was shown to be the most effective means of reducing respirable dust within the barn while feeding low crude protein diets was the most effective strategy for reducing ammonia levels.

The series of spring producer meetings wraps up tomorrow in Saskatoon.

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