Farmers Lung (HSE AS5)

Which dusts are dangerous?

Dust can cause serious illness.

  • Hay, straw, grain and similar farm produce can go mouldy and produce the spores of the  microorganisms that cause farmer's lung.
  • Handling the compost used in mushroom growing also gives rise to the micro-organisms that cause a similar disease called mushroom worker's lung. Mushroom spores themselves very rarely cause this disease.
  • Dry dust from grain and feedstuffs can cause irritation or asthma, eg harvest worker's lung.
  • Poultry feathers and droppings can cause allergies - poultry breeder's lung.
  • Dust in intensive livestock houses can also cause similar respiratory ailments.

You are at risk if you:

  • handle hay, straw, grain or similar produce that has been harvested in damp conditions and stored in a way that leads to heating and drying out;
  • work with mushroom compost;
  • are exposed to dry dust from the harvesting and storage of grain or the milling, moving and handling of feedstuffs;
  • work with intensively kept livestock, eg pigs and poultry.
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