Bales and moldy feed pose a serious health risk to farmers

Farmers have been warned of serious health hazards posed by bales and moldy feed.

Additionally, spores and fumes from moldy bales can cause very serious respiratory illnesses and Teagasc health and safety specialist John McNamara has warned that many farmers should wear masks when opening the balls.

Speaking at a recent webinar on the subject, he pointed to recent research which found that around 60% of farmers have some sort of respiratory problem, while around 13% of farmers have a respiratory disease. and 12% have some form of lung injury.

McNamara warned that spores from moldy bales could cause significant long-term health problems, including asthma, chronic bronchitis, shortness of breath, weight loss and farmer’s lung.

“First, if you have any concerns, you should contact your doctor,” McNamara said. “There are treatments available and the sooner you get them, the better.

“These gray and blue spores released from the bales are public enemy number one for farmers’ respiratory health. If you get a large dose of it in your lungs, it can cause a lot of problems. A high dose can also trigger an allergy or reaction in the future from a much lower dose.

McNamara also warned that the danger lurked not only in bales of hay or silage, but also in grains and foods of any type with mold. Ventilation is key to disease prevention, he stressed.

“What the lungs need is clean air and nothing else,” he said. “Ventilation should always come first. Good air circulation for livestock as well as people is essential to reduce the level of danger in the first instance. »

However, McNamara also said wearing masks is also recommended, especially for those with existing respiratory issues.

“P2 masks are recommended as they prevent inhalation of tiny spores. Farmers should wear them more frequently in the farm yard.

“I know it’s hard to sell to farmers, but there are many options on the market.

“Shop for one that’s right for you,” he said, while emphasizing the importance of wearing them correctly.

About Keneth T. Graves

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