Document Type


Date of Degree

Summer 2019

Degree Name

MS (Master of Science)

Degree In

Occupational and Environmental Health

First Advisor

Anthony, T Renée

First Committee Member

Rohlman, Diane

Second Committee Member

Nonnenmann, Matthew


Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) is a gas commonly produced in manure pits. When the manure is disturbed through manure handling activities such as pressure washing, agitating, and pumping out manure, H2S is released. During these activities H2S concentrations increase quickly and reach hazardous concentrations. Many fatalities from high H2S concentrations during manure handling activities have been reported internationally as well as in the Midwest.

Occupations in general industry that have identified the potential for high H2S concentrations use monitors to warn worker of high H2S concentrations. However, in agriculture the adoption of H2S monitors is low. To encourage farmers to adopt H2S monitors, interactive training materials were created. Displays were deployed to locations that farmers frequent such as agricultural stores, extension offices, and cooperatives. Agricultural stores are defined here as locations that sell agricultural supplies wholesale, or retail, and services. These displays contained educational materials, two H2S monitors, and two types of bump testing gas for farmers to use. Along with the display passive trainings, six in-person trainings were completed where participants filled out surveys. The survey asked questions about the farmers knowledge and use of H2S monitors, likelihood of purchasing a H2S monitor in the future, easiest bump testing gas to use and the one preferred for future bump testing, and the location that farmers would prefer to go to for bump testing and monitor education.

Survey participants were placed into two groups: livestock producers and commercial manure applicators. A total of 43 surveys were completed by these groups. The majority of both livestock producers and commercial manure applicators knew what H2S monitors were, but less than half of the participants actually used H2S monitors. Outreach focusing on H2S monitor use and maintenance should be continued. Hydrogen sulfide monitor use and maintenance training had the more attendance when added to an already existing training or meeting such as the manure applicator trainings or livestock producer meetings.

In the survey, livestock producers and commercial manure applicators were asked the easiest type of bump testing gas where both groups chose that the calibration gas is easiest to use. When prices were included in the survey question for both bump testing gas systems, many more of livestock producers and commercial manure applicators responded that they could see themselves using neither in the future. Price of bump testing systems ($130-$220) can be a potential barrier for some farmers to not bump test their monitors, it would be beneficial for multiple farmers to share one bump testing system.

Putting a bump testing system in at agricultural stores, cooperatives and extension offices would allow many farmers to use it. Commercial manure applicators reported that they had no preference in future locations for bump testing and monitor advice between the agricultural store, cooperatives, and extension offices. Livestock producers preferred agricultural stores a little more than cooperatives and extension offices, but all three locations should be used for continuing H2S monitor education. In our study agricultural stores had the most bump tests recorded, bump testing gas used, they purchased a bump testing system for their customers.


Hydrogen sulfide monitors


ix, 64 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 45-49).


Copyright © 2019 Amber Elaine Hartis