CONTACT: DEBRA VENZKE
UI COLLEGE OF PUBLIC HEALTH
IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY
Release: Feb. 11, 2002
NOTE TO EDITORS: Peter S. Thorne, Ph.D., UI professor of occupational and
environmental health and a member of the study group that prepared this report,
is available for comment. He can be reached at (319) 335-4216.
Report recommends air-quality standards for concentrated animal feeding
IOWA CITY, Iowa A new joint report from a team of scientists at the
University of Iowa and Iowa State University recommends that the Iowa Department
of Natural Resources develop ambient air-quality standards for concentrated
animal feeding operations (CAFOs) in Iowa.
While stating that no specific diseases among community residents can be
linked to air emissions from CAFOs, the report states that "emissions
may constitute a public health hazard and that precautions should be taken
exposures arising from CAFOs."
The study group recommended standards for measuring hydrogen sulfide and
ammonia at a CAFO property line and at a residence or public use area, and
provided two opinions on the regulation of odors.
"The report is based upon the best science available to ensure that
rural ambient air is as free of risk as possible in order to protect health
and the quality of life at the highest possible level," according to
James Merchant, M.D., Dr.P.H., dean of the UI College of Public Health, and
Richard Ross, D.V.M., Ph.D., former dean of the College of Agriculture at
Iowa State University, who together chaired the joint study group.
The report, developed by the universities at the request of Iowa Gov. Tom
Vilsack, states that hydrogen sulfide and ammonia have been measured near
livestock operations in concentrations that could be harmful to humans. Both
substances are pulmonary irritants.
Odors arising from concentrated animal feeding operations were reported to
be associated with increased eye and respiratory symptoms by rural residents
living near the facilities, the report states.
Besides air quality, the study group also was asked to address other emerging
issues related to CAFOs. The report identified water quality, worker health,
antibiotic resistance, "greenhouse gas" emissions, socioeconomic
impacts on rural communities, and livestock epidemic and disposal issues.
The study group also outlined policy strategies to improve the siting of new
The study group reported on technologies and management strategies that are
currently available to producers to reduce emissions. These include strategies
related to housing ventilation,manure storage and handling.
The study group's full 10-chapter report and an executive summary will be
available online at www.public-health.uiowa.edu/ehsrc.
For a printed publication, please contact Deb Venzke at (319) 335-9647 or
via e-mail at email@example.com.