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Occupational and Environmental Lung Disease |

Positive Human Health Effects of Wearing a Respirator in a Swine Barn*

James A. Dosman, MD, FCCP; Ambikaipakan Senthilselvan, PhD; Shelley P. Kirychuk, MS; Stephane Lemay, PhD; Ernest M. Barber, PhD; Philip Willson, PhD; Yvon Cormier, MD; Tom S. Hurst, MvetSC
Author and Funding Information

*From the Centre for Agricultural Medicine (Drs. Dosman and Senthilselvan, and Ms. Kirychuk), the College of Agriculture (Dr. Barber), the Veterinary Infectious Disease Organization (Dr. Willson), and the Division of Respiratory Medicine of the Department of Medicine (Mr. Hurst), University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada; the Prairie Swine Centre Inc (Dr. Lemay), Saskatoon, Saskatchewan; and the Centre de Pneumologie (Dr. Cormier), University of Laval, Ste-Foy, Québec, Canada.

Correspondence to: James A. Dosman, MD, FCCP, Centre for Agricultural Medicine, P.O. Box 120, Royal University Hospital, 103 Hospital Dr, Saskatoon S7N 0W8, Canada; e-mail: dosman@sask.usask.ca



Chest. 2000;118(3):852-860. doi:10.1378/chest.118.3.852
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Study objectives: A study was conducted to evaluate the acute health effects of wearing an N-95 disposable respirator in a swine confinement facility.

Design: A crossover trial design was used in the study.

Setting: The study was carried out at the research facilities of the Centre for Agricultural Medicine, the Royal University Hospital, and the Prairie Swine Centre Inc, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.

Participants: Twenty-one nonsmoking healthy male subjects with no previous swine barn exposure participated in the study.

Interventions: The subjects participated in a laboratory session (baseline day), a 4-h exposure in a traditional swine room wearing the respirator (intervention day), and a 4-hour exposure in a traditional swine room without a respirator (nonintervention day).

Measurements: Lung function, methacholine challenge tests, blood counts, nasal lavage, and cytokines in serum and nasal lavage fluid.

Results: Mean (± SE) shift change in FEV1, from preexposure to postexposure, was highest on nonintervention day (−8.1 ± 1.01%) and was significantly different from intervention day (0.32 ± 0.62%; p < 0.0001) and baseline day (1.57 ± 0.51%; p < 0.0001). Similar patterns were observed in the mean values of the provocative concentration of a substance (methacholine) causing a 20% fall in FEV1 (nonintervention day, 130.4 ± 36.9 mg/mL; intervention day, 242.0 ± 38.0 mg/mL; and baseline day, 328.0 mg/mL± 34.1 mg/mL). Significant increases in serum neutrophil levels and nasal cell counts were observed on the nonintervention day in comparison to the baseline and intervention days. Significant increases also were found in the levels of cytokines interleukin (IL)-6 and IL-8 in nasal lavage fluid and in the levels of IL-6 in serum for the nonintervention day in comparison to the other 2 days.

Conclusions: The results demonstrate that an N-95 disposable respirator can help to significantly reduce acute negative health effects in subjects not previously exposed to a swine barn environment.

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