Occupational and environmental exposure to bioaerosols from composts and potential health effects – A critical review of published data


Health and Safety Executive – UK

Date: 28 April 2008


The primary objective of this study was to critically review published literature related tostudies of airborne micro-organisms or their constituent parts (bioaerosols) associated withorganic waste composting facilities, and to establish whether there is a risk to worker healthfrom the inhalation of these bioaerosols. The review aimed to identify the personnel at risk oncompost sites, identify the circumstances which increased the risk and indicate suitable controlmeasures to control the risk. A further consideration was that airborne dispersal of bioaerosolsfrom compost facilities could affect neighbouring facilities or residents, leading to healthconcerns, and the review also looked at evidence of bioaerosol dissemination from sites,potential exposures and reported ill health.Further objectives were to review computational modelling tools for estimating dispersion ofbioaerosols from composting facilities and to recommend suitable models. Existingexperimental data, previously derived from environmental sampling at composting sites by theComposting Association who collaborated on this project, were re-examined to providecomparison between experimental and modelled data.

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