Document Type


Date of Degree

Summer 2012

Degree Name

MS (Master of Science)

Degree In

Occupational and Environmental Health

First Advisor

Anthony, T Renée

First Committee Member

Peters, Thomas M

Second Committee Member

Nonnenmann, Matthew W


Respirable dust, carbon dioxide, ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, and carbon monoxide concentrations were measured using fixed-area monitoring and contaminant mapping in a 19–crate farrowing room during the winter. Direct–reading instruments were used with fixed–area stations and contaminant mapping to evaluate concentrations during five days over a period of a three–week farrowing cycle. Concentrations were evaluated to determine the effect of the pit ventilation on contaminant concentrations, a change in concentration occurred over a sample day, and to determine if three data collection methods produce different daily respirable dust concentrations.

Pit ventilation did have a significant effect on contaminant concentration in a farrowing barn during winter. Compared to when the pit fan was on, mean area contaminant concentration, with the exception of CO, was significantly higher when the pit fan was turned off (p<0.001). Mean respirable dust concentration was 79% higher, CO2 concentration was 35% higher, NH3 increased from 0.03 ppm to 10.8 ppm, and H2S concentrations increased from 0.03 ppm to 0.67 ppm. A significant change in area respirable dust (p<0.001) and CO2 (p<0.001) mean concentrations occurred over time throughout the course of a sample day. Mean area respirable dust concentrations were highest in the beginning of the sample day and decreased by 77 % (pit fan off) to 87% (pit fan on) over a five–hour sample period. Higher concentrations were likely attributed to the feeding period that occurred early in the day. When the pit fan was turned off, mean area CO2 concentrations increased by 24% by the end of the sample day due to the inefficient ventilation and the constant production of CO2 generated by the swine. Finally, comparing the three data collection methods produced similar results concerning the ranking of the daily mean concentrations of respirable dust; however, differences were seen in the magnitude of the daily average respirable dust concentrations across the three data collection methods, which might lead to different interpretations of risk. To ensure risk is not underestimated, multiple fixed–area monitors are recommended to characterize room concentrations.

Throughout the study, contaminant concentration did not exceed regulatory or international consensus standards; however, recommended agricultural health limits suggested in the literature were exceeded for respirable dust, CO2, and NH3. These findings indicate the need to consider personal exposures to those working in farrowing barns and control options to reduce these contaminant concentrations in production facilities.


area exposure, contaminants, farrowing barn, hazard mapping, wintertime


xi, 171 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 167-171).


Copyright 2012 Kelsie Ann Reeve