Particulate matter concentrations and emissions in rabbit farms

Elisa Adell, Salvador Calvet, Antonio G. Torres, María Cambra-López

Abstract

The extent of the potential health hazards of particulate matter (PM) inside rabbit farms and the magnitude of emission levels to the outside environment are still unknown, as data on PM concentrations and emissions in and from such buildings is scarce.  The purpose of this study was to quantify airborne PM10 and PM2.5 concentrations and emissions on two rabbit farms in Mediterranean conditions and identify the main factors related with farm activities influencing PM generation.  Concentrations of PM10 and PM2.5 were determined continuously using a tapered element oscillating microbalance (TEOM) in one farm with fattening rabbits and one reproductive doe farm in autumn.  At the same time as PM sampling, the time and type of human farm activity being performed was recorded. Additionally, temperature, relative humidity and ventilation rate were recorded continuously.  Emissions were calculated using a mass balance on each farm.  Results showed PM concentrations in rabbit farms are low compared with poultry and pig farms.  Average PM10 concentrations were 0.082±0.059 mg/m3 (fattening rabbits), and 0.048 ±0.058 mg/m3 (reproductive does). Average PM2.5 concentrations were 0.012±0.016 mg/m3 (fattening rabbits), and 0.012±0.035 mg/m3 (reproductive does). Particulate matter concentrations were significantly influenced by the type of human farm activity carried out in the building rather than by animal activity.  The main PM-generating activity on the fattening rabbit farm was sweeping, and the major PM-generating activity in reproductive does was sweeping and burning hair from the cages.  Average PM10 emissions were 5.987±6.144 mg/place/day (fattening rabbits), and 14.9±31.5 mg/place/day (reproductive does).  Average PM2.5 emissions were 0.20±1.26 mg/place/day (fattening rabbits), and 2.83±19.54 mg/place/day (reproductive does).  Emission results indicate that rabbit farms can be considered relevant point sources of PM emissions, comparable to other livestock species.  Our results improve the knowledge on factors affecting concentration and emissions of PM in rabbit farms and can contribute to the design of suitable PM reduction measures to control not only PM inside rabbit houses, but also its emission into the atmosphere.


Keywords

Air quality; animal housing; atmospheric pollution; dust; health

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 Universitat Politècnica de València

 

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