Effects of Air-borne Hazards on the Physical and Psychological Health of Nigerian Poultry Workers

Pius A. Okiki, Anthony O. Ogbimi, Wilson E. Edafiadhe


Industrialized agriculture has resulted in a public health crisis for farmers, farm workers and their families. This study, which involved measurement of the concentrations of air-borne dust and ammonia in poultry buildings using active samplers and assessing the physical and psychological health status of poultry workers via questionnaire, was conducted in some poultry farms in Lagos and Ogun States of Nigeria. Ammonia concentrations in poultry houses, 52.53 + 23.56 parts per million (ppm), were found to be much higher than allowable value of 25ppm. Poultry working environment was found to be dustier than human indoors. Poultry workers experienced significantly higher frequency of symptoms of physical ill-health than the control populace (P < 0.001). Depression indices were low in all the two groups studied without significant difference in the frequency of occurrence of depression symptoms. Poultry workers with anxiety index of 0.23 were found to be moderately anxious while control populace showed no anxiety. The symptoms of anxiety were significantly higher among poultry workers than control (P < 0.001).  Female poultry workers experienced significantly higher symptoms of physical ill health, anxiety and depression than their male counterparts (P < 0.001, in all cases). The results indicated that the poultry air has high load of respirable dust, noxious gases and other agents that may be acting in synergy to produce deleterious effects on both the physical and psychological health of poultry workers.

Key words: Ammonia, anxiety, depression, poultry dust, poultry workers, physical ill health.

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ISSN (Paper)2224-3208 ISSN (Online)2225-093X

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