Endotoxin and particulate matter emitted by livestock farms and respiratory health effects in neighboring residents

Myrna M.T. de Rooij*, Lidwien A.M. Smit, Hans J. Erbrink, Thomas J. Hagenaars, Gerard Hoek, Nico W.M. Ogink, Albert Winkel, Dick J.J. Heederik, Inge M. Wouters

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Living in livestock-dense areas has been associated with health effects, suggesting airborne exposures to livestock farm emissions to be relevant for public health. Livestock farm emissions involve complex mixtures of various gases and particles. Endotoxin, a pro-inflammatory agent of microbial origin, is a constituent of livestock farm emitted particulate matter (PM) that is potentially related to the observed health effects. Quantification of livestock associated endotoxin exposure at residential addresses in relation to health outcomes has not been performed earlier. Objectives: We aimed to assess exposure-response relations for a range of respiratory endpoints and atopic sensitization in relation to livestock farm associated PM10 and endotoxin levels. Methods: Self-reported respiratory symptoms of 12,117 persons participating in a population-based cross-sectional study were analyzed. For 2494 persons, data on lung function (spirometry) and serologically assessed atopic sensitization was additionally available. Annual-average PM10 and endotoxin concentrations at home addresses were predicted by dispersion modelling and land-use regression (LUR) modelling. Exposure-response relations were analyzed with generalized additive models. Results: Health outcomes were generally more strongly associated with exposure to livestock farm emitted endotoxin compared to PM10. An inverse association was observed for dispersion modelled exposure with atopic sensitization (endotoxin: p =.004, PM10: p =.07) and asthma (endotoxin: p =.029, PM10: p =.022). Prevalence of respiratory symptoms decreased with increasing endotoxin concentration at the lower range, while at the higher range prevalence increased with increasing concentration (p <.05). Associations between lung function parameters with exposure to PM10 and endotoxin were not statistically significant (p >.05). Conclusions: Exposure to livestock farm emitted particulate matter is associated with respiratory health effects and atopic sensitization in non-farming residents. Results indicate endotoxin to be a potentially plausible etiologic agent, suggesting non-infectious aspects of microbial emissions from livestock farms to be important with respect to public health.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105009
JournalEnvironment International
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2019


  • Air pollution
  • Emissions
  • Endotoxin
  • Livestock farming
  • Public health
  • Spatial modelling


Dive into the research topics of 'Endotoxin and particulate matter emitted by livestock farms and respiratory health effects in neighboring residents'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this