Year 2015 –2017

  • Occupational Safety and Health Prevention among Migrant and Seasonal Farmworkers in Iowa (A Johannes, University of Iowa, Dept of Occupational and Environmental Health – graduate student).
    In collaboration with Proteus, Inc. (a nonprofit organization that provides healthcare to migrant farmworkers), study investigators examined injuries and illnesses, healthcare-seeking behavior, and use of prevention measures among 70 migrant and seasonal farmworkers. Less than 40% of survey respondents reported receiving information on any common health problem from their doctor, employer, or elsewhere. Participants requested more information on prevention, management, and treatment of these health concerns. These results have been shared with employers and Proteus staff.
  • Noise Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL) Simulation and Hearing Protection Device Fit Testing (J Gibbs, M Cheyney, University of Iowa, Dept of Occupational and Environmental Health, R Meschner, S Klemuk, University of Iowa, Dept of Communication Sciences and Disorders/Audiology). This team (a) designed a NIHL simulator for use at outreach events and (b) examined how well hearing protection fits farmers
    (E-A-R fit™ validation test). Fit test data show most farmers achieved better personal attenuation using ‘Push-In’ style ear plugs than with formable foam style ear plugs despite the higher manufacturer-reported Noise Reduction Ratings for formable foam plugs. This study provided preliminary data for additional funding and will lead to a scientific publication and recommendations for changes to hearing conservation recommendations among agricultural workers.
  • Identifying Job Demands and Health Outcomes among Iowa Beginning Farmers (M Ramaswamy, University of Iowa, Dept of Occupational and Environmental Health – graduate student). Study personnel estimated associations between (a) physical and psychosocial demands and (b) general and musculoskeletal health status and acute injury occurrences among 98 beginning farmers. Women and men differed significantly with respect to exposure to certain physical demands. Men reported higher exposure to holding powered equipment with hands (median [IQR]: 3.0[1.9-3.6], men; 2.0 [1.0-3.0], women) as well as using manual tools (median [IQR]: 3.6[3.0-5.0], men; 2.5 [1.0-3.2], women).Participants reported occurrence of musculoskeletal pain over the past 12 months, with 62% reporting pain in the neck/shoulder region, 45% in the elbow/hand/wrist region, and 69% in the low back region.
  • Increasing the Use of Hearing Protection among Young Adult Swine Confinement Workers (J Rudolphi, University of Iowa, Department of Occupational and Environmental Health – graduate student).
    This project examined safe behavior (hearing protection use) and differences between 72 young study adult swine production workers who used smart-phone tracking with and without daily goals for hearing protection use. After completing the baseline survey, all participants were mailed hearing protection kits. Instructions for downloading and using a smartphone app to log behaviors was sent to participants in the two intervention groups. The greatest increase in reported hearing protection use was in the intervention with goal group, who reported a mean use increase of 47%. The intervention without goal group reported a mean increase of 42% and the control group reported a mean increase of 32%.

Year 2014 –2015

  • Identifying agricultural behaviors of Iowa’s young farmers (J Rudolphi, University of Iowa, Dept of Occupational and Environmental Health – graduate student). An online survey was completed by 222 young farmers and showed that young female farmers reported safer work practices than young male farmers. In addition, the study found a strong link between workplace policies and safer work practices. A manuscript is in development.
  • Metagenomics and Staphylococcus Aureus Colonization in Livestock Workers (Kates, A. University of Iowa, Dept. of Epidemiology, Iowa City, IA – graduate student). Study investigators are examining the nasal microbiome of 33 non-livestock and 26 livestock workers in order to compare those with aureus colonization to those without S. aureus colonization to identify risk factors for this outcome. All RNA sequencing and spa typing has been completed, and data are currently being analyzed.

Year 2013 –2014

  • Effect of Elevated Carbon Dioxide on Lung Inflammation in Barn Dust Instilled Mice (D Schneberger, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE). The investigators tested co-exposures of mice to both barn dust extracts and an atmosphere with 5000 ppm CO2. Although no changes were noted with CO2 exposure in the absence of barn dust, the addition of CO2 to barn dust was associated with an increase in inflammatory markers in comparison to barn dust alone.  These results provide evidence that controlling CO2 concentrations in swine barns may prevent respiratory inflammation among swine workers. These results led to an American Thoracic Society presentation, additional funding, and a peer-reviewed publication.

Year 2012 –2013

  • Determining the mechanisms and outcomes of ATV crashes among high-risk groups in the Great Plains Region (C Jennissen, G Denning, K Harland, University of Iowa, Dept. of Emergency Medicine, Iowa City, IA). This project compiled 1996-2012 Iowa FACE data and nine state press clipping data to identify factors associated with agricultural ATV/UTV crashes. Data were compiled for academic publication and results have led to further funding from the Kohls Foundation (Kohls Cares) for community ATV/UTV safety outreach activities.
  • Genetic variation in endotoxin receptors and their association with COPD phenotypes (T LeVan, J Merchant, & K Kelly, University of Iowa, Dept. of Occupational and Environmental Health, Iowa City, IA). Using stored blood samples of Keokuk County Rural Health Cohort participants, a nested case-control study examined the relationship between COPD and specific single nucleotide polymorphisms. A previously unknown association between COPD and HHIP polymorphisms rs13118928 and rs1542725 was observed. The results have been published in the academic literature.
  • A tractor rollover detection and emergency reporting system (A Bulent Koc, W Downs, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO). Project investigators developed the first rollover detection sensor system with a Bluetooth connection to iPhone/iPad. This technology was shared with the ASABE and resulted in two scholarly publications. Researchers provided demonstrations to more than 1600 individuals at events sponsored by the Cattlemen Association, Pork Producers Association, and the Missouri State Fair. More than 50 media stories covered these events.  One of the academic papers resulting from this project also was awarded “Best Paper” recognition at the 2013 International Society for Agricultural Safety and Health Conference.