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Air pollution from livestock farms is associated with airway obstruction in neighboring residents.

Borlée, F., Yzermans, C.J., Aalders, B., Rooijackers, J., Krop, E., Maassen, C.B.M., Schellevis, F., Brunekreef, B., Heederik, D., Smit, L.A.M. Air pollution from livestock farms is associated with airway obstruction in neighboring residents. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine: 2017, 196(9), 1152-1161
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Rationale
Livestock farm emissions may not only affect respiratory health of farmers but also of neighboring residents.

Objectives
To explore associations between both spatial and temporal variation in pollutant emissions from livestock farms and lung function in a general, non-farming, rural population in the Netherlands.

Methods
We conducted a cross-sectional study in 2,308 adults (age 20-72 years). A pulmonary function test was performed measuring pre- and post-bronchodilator FEV1, FVC, FEV1/FVC and MMEF. Spatial exposure was assessed as
1) number of farms within 500 m and 1,000 m of the home,
2) distance to the nearest farm, and
3) modelled annual average fine dust emissions from farms within 500 m and 1,000 m of the home address.
Temporal exposure was assessed as week-average ambient PM10 and ammonia (NH3) concentrations prior to lung function measurements. Data were analyzed with generalized additive models (smoothing).

Results
A negative association was found between the number of livestock farms within a 1,000 m buffer from the home address and MMEF, which was more pronounced in non-atopic participants. No associations were found with other spatial exposure variables. Week-average PM10 and NH3 levels were negatively associated with FEV1, FEV1/FVC and MMEF. In a two-pollutant model, only NH3 remained associated. A 25 µg/m3 increase in NH3 was associated with a 2.22% lower FEV1 (95%CI -3.69 to -0.74), FEV1 /FVC: -1.12% (-1.96 to -0.28) and MMEF: -5.67% (-8.80 to -2.55).

Conclusion
Both spatial and temporal variation in livestock air pollution emissions are associated with lung function deficits in non-farming residents.