Date of Award

Spring 2017

Degree Type

Non-Thesis Project

Degree Name

MS Industrial Hygiene

Committee Chair

Terry Spear


Bioaerosol is a generic term used to describe dusts that are produced by and or contain biological material. These dusts can potentially contain the following hazardous agents; bacteria, viruses, bacterial endotoxins, and/or mycotoxins from mold spores. Respiratory inflammation, allergies, cancers, and infectious diseases can occur from exposure to a variety of bioaerosol agents. Controlling bioaerosol exposures is very complicated due to the limited amount of research available and because there are no established regulatory or authoritative exposure limits.

Three cattle operations, two beef and one Dairy, in Utah were investigated to establish exposure profiles of the full-time employees that directly handle and manage livestock. Several different tasks and processes requiring contact with the cattle were identified as likely exposure situations. Endotoxins, viable mold, and spore counts were the three different types of samples that were collected. The Health Council of the Netherlands proposed an endotoxin exposure limit in 2010 that is considered a best practice. Some of the endotoxin results from this study were found to exceed that proposed exposure limit. Additionally, a few of the mold count results were well above background mold levels and are reason for concern. However, additional sampling would be required to confirm the exposure profile and further understand the risk involved.


A report submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science Industrial Hygiene Distance Learning / Professional Track