Assessment of air quality at neighbor residences in the vicinity of swine production facilities

J Agromedicine. 2006;11(3-4):15-24. doi: 10.1300/J096v11n03_03.


Air sampling was completed on the front lawn of 35 homes neighboring swine farms in three different regions in the Upper Midwest of the United States. One region was dominated by large scale, swine confined animal feeding operations (CAFO's) noted as swine confinement area (SCA). The second area was dominated by smaller scale operations utilizing hoop structure facilities (HA). The third area was basically devoid of livestock, dominated by row-crop production, and served as the control area (CA). The time weighted average concentrations of hydrogen sulfide (8.42 ppb) was higher (p = 0.047) in SCA area than the control (3.48 ppb). However, carbon dioxide (449.6 ppm), ammonia (12.78 ppb) and PM10 (42.25 microg/m3) were higher in the hoop structure area than the other areas. Swine population density, distance between the homes and swine facilities, and wind direction had an interactive effect on the average levels of ammonia (p = 0.04). The contaminant levels at the homes were relatively low compared to typical concentrations inside animal buildings. However, exceedences of federal recommended limits for hydrogen sulfide in outdoor air were observed in the swine CAFO area. Concentration of hydrogen sulfide exceeded the recommended limits of the ATSDR (30 ppb) for chronic exposure at two of the 12 homes in the CAFO area (17%). Average hydrogen sulfide concentration exceeded the EPA recommended community standards (0.7 ppb) in all three areas assessed (SCA, HA, and CA). As chronic exposure to hydrogen sulfide may be present in areas of production agriculture, a potential health risk may be present. Further studies to provide additional information regarding exposures to hydrogen sulfide in rural environments are warranted.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Agriculture*
  • Air Pollutants, Occupational / adverse effects
  • Air Pollutants, Occupational / analysis
  • Air Pollution / adverse effects
  • Air Pollution / analysis*
  • Air Pollution, Indoor / adverse effects
  • Air Pollution, Indoor / analysis*
  • Ammonia / analysis
  • Animal Husbandry / methods
  • Animals
  • Carbon Dioxide / analysis
  • Carbon Monoxide / analysis
  • Housing, Animal*
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen Sulfide / adverse effects
  • Hydrogen Sulfide / analysis*
  • Microclimate
  • Particle Size
  • Swine


  • Air Pollutants, Occupational
  • Carbon Dioxide
  • Ammonia
  • Carbon Monoxide
  • Hydrogen Sulfide