Unknown Hazards Living Near Poultry Farms
I’m Ed Smith, a Stockton farming accident lawyer. Many people in the Central Valley have seen the large clouds of dust around chicken and turkey farms, especially when the animals are being loaded into trucks. What many of these people do not know, however, is that this dust can have serious health effects. In fact, just living near a turkey or chicken farm can have severe health effects, including greatly decreased lung function, because the dust on poultry feathers is actually toxic to humans.
Toxic Dust on Turkey and Chicken Feathers
The dust on poultry feathers is dangerous because it contains high concentrations of what scientists call particulate matter. This means the dust has high quantities of a lot of different things, including microorganisms and various other particles which may obstruct respiratory tracts.
The dust is also dangerous because the “dandrum” and feces of chickens and turkeys contains pigeon antigens. These are pieces of organic material to which an entire segment of the population is actually hypersensitive. When pigeon antigens reach a human’s lungs, they may lodge there, producing a variety of reactions.
Health Effects of Poultry Dust
Several specific diseases are associated with exposure to poultry bloom, including asthma and allergic alveolitis. Chronic airways obstructive disease (COPD), chronic bronchitis, organic dust toxic syndrome (ODTS), and pigeon breeder’s disease are all associated with prolonged exposure to poultry dust.
All of these diseases share one main symptom: difficulty breathing due to decreased lung function. Because the dust from poultry farms is so dense and full of potentially harmful organisms, the dust gets stuck in the lungs. This leaves many people exposed with similar damage as smokers because their lungs are too clogged with outside materials to expand normally.
Farmworkers certainly face the greatest risk for these diseases, but the dust cloud produced by so many poultry farms means that all those who live around these farms are also at risk.
Added Risk to Children
As mentioned above, anyone who works on or lives near a chicken or turkey farm is at risk of developing respiratory problems due to exposure to the dust produced by these farms. Simply walking by one of these farms may cause short-term symptoms and problems. There is an elevated risk of a problem, however, for children exposed to the dust.
Children’s lungs are still in development and are hence more fragile to foreign bodies, like those contained in poultry dust. This fragility is why many people have asthma as a child, but “grow out of it” in adulthood.
Therefore, when a child is exposed to the dust from a poultry farm, their lungs are especially incapable of dispelling the material. This leaves harmful organisms in a child that can quickly become a serious medical condition.
Have You Experienced Shortness of Breath Around a Turkey or Chicken Farm?
If you or someone you know lives near a chicken or turkey farm and has experienced respiratory problems, seek experienced legal advice. In many cases, these farms were built after the homes around them without giving notice to the residents of their hazards. While this negligence is a risk to you and your family’s life, it also may entitle you to damages for the traumatic injuries you have suffered.
As the holiday season nears, activity around turkey farms will again increase based on the demand. So, too, will the dust around these farms, risking the lives of everyone around these farms.
Stockton Farming Accident Attorneys
I’m Ed Smith, a Stockton farming accident lawyer. If you or someone you love has suffered an agriculturally related injury, please call me at (209) 227-1931 or (800) 404-5400 for free and friendly advice.
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Photo Credit: Courtesy of USAID Afghanistan (Bolan Poultry Farms) [Public domain image], via Wikimedia Commons