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Livestock Farming and the Health of Local Residents (supplementary studies). Analysis of health effects, risk factors and emissions of bioaerosols

Veehouderij en Gezondheid Omwonenden (aanvullende studies). Analyse van gezondheidseffecten, risicofactoren en uitstoot van bio-aerosolen

Synopsis

People who live near poultry farms have a greater chance of pneumonia. This link has been evident every year between 2009 and 2013. The same conclusion was already drawn in the main Livestock Farming and the Health of Local Residents [Veehouderij en Gezondheid van Omwonenden] (VGO) report in 2016, but a more detailed analysis of the data using more powerful statistical techniques has confirmed the findings and given them an even firmer foundation. On average this leads to approximately 119 extra patients with pneumonia each year per 100,000 people in the research area, which accounts for approximately 7.2% extra cases. There are strong indications that particulate matter and its components are making people more susceptible to respiratory infections. Specific pathogens from animals cannot, however, be ruled out.

People who live near goat farms also have a greater chance of pneumonia. Although indications to support this have already been found, they have now been substantiated over a longer period of time. The researchers have observed this increase every year from 2007 up to and including 2013, so even after the Q fever epidemic which occurred from 2007 up to and including 2010. The number of additional cases of pneumonia in the research area attributable to the presence of goat farms is approximately 5.4% over the years 2009-2013. Although the Q fever epidemic probably helped to increase the number of people with pneumonia during the first few years, it does not explain the increased risk since 2011. The cause of this increase is still unclear.

These outcomes were revealed during the follow-up research based on the main report from 2016. The research also confirms the earlier conclusion that people with COPD who live in the vicinity of livestock farms experience problems more frequently and the problems themselves are more serious than people who live at a greater distance from livestock farms.

Measurements taken of the local air reveal that the concentration of endotoxins in the air increases as the distance to a livestock farm decreases, or as the number of livestock farms in an area (the density) increases. Endotoxins are small components of microorganisms that can cause irritation to, and inflammation of, the airways. Animal husbandry sectors which are known for their high level of substance emissions, such as poultry and pig farms, clearly contribute to the concentration of endotoxins in the living environment. It is striking that animal husbandry sectors which are not known for their high level of substance emissions nevertheless appear to contribute to the concentration of endotoxins in the living environment. Large numbers of livestock farms from these sectors are represented in the VGO area.


To reference this report use: DOI 10.21945/RIVM-2017-0062

Home / Documents and publications / 2017 / June / Livestock Farming and the Health of Local Residents (supplementary studies). Analysis of health effects, risk factors and emissions of bioaerosols

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