During their work shift, dairy workers’ respiratory systems are at risk for exposure to the potentially hazardous constituents and opportunistic pathogens contained in agricultural dusts. These workers also experience reduced pulmonary function over the course of their workday, and pro-inflammatory markers have been isolated from their nasal rinses.
Building on previous dairy bioaerosols research, Stephen Reynolds, Joshua Schaeffer and colleagues are investigating the use of a nasal rinse for preventing respiratory inflammation in dairy workers. Dairy workers in the study complete pulmonary function testing and a nasal lavage before and after their work shift. During the work shift, participants wear an air-sampling device. The device collects dusts and particles that could enter the human respiratory system.
In the laboratory, the dust collected is weighed and analyzed to quantify the concentration of endotoxin – an inflammatory agent that is part of the cell wall in some bacteria. The liquid collected from nasal rinses will be analyzed for markers of inflammation (cytokines) and to define the microbiome (community of bacteria) in the nose. The project hypothesis is that rinsing with hypertonic saline will reduce the inflammatory response without significantly affecting the diversity of the microbiome.
The full title of this study is “Evaluation of effectiveness of a nasal rinse intervention to reduce the pro-inflammatory response in dairy workers exposed to bio-aerosols.” For simplicity, it is referred to as the “Nasal Intervention Study”
Funded by: National Institutes of Occupational Safety and Health
Funding Period: 2018-2021