Air Quality and Indoor Agriculture Environments
Debra J. Romberger, M.D. | Chair, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Nebraska Medical Center
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The vast majority of animals raised for consumption are housed in concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs). While CAFOs create efficiency, they are also potential sources of environmental risk influencing indoor as well as outdoor air quality. This presentation will focus on indoor air quality issues. The indoor air quality of CAFOs places workers at risk for respiratory diseases such as chronic bronchitis, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and asthma as well as other health conditions. CAFO air environment contains numerous agents that can be problematic including dust, microbial components, ammonia, hydrogen sulfide and volatile organic components. Ongoing strategies to reduce risk include enhanced monitoring, building changes, personal protective equipment and strategies around diet and medications.
About the Speaker
Dr. Debra Romberger is Chair of the Department of Internal Medicine at University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) and a pulmonary/critical care physician. She graduated from the University of Kansas School of Medicine and completed her internal medicine and pulmonary/critical care clinical fellowship at Kansas University Medical Center. She subsequently completed a pulmonary research fellowship at UNMC. She joined the faculty at UNMC and has advanced to the rank of Professor. Her research interests focus on airway inflammation especially related to agricultural-related dusts. Her work has been funded by NIOSH and the VA R&D. She is the PI of the outreach program for the Central States Center for Agriculture Safety and Health at UNMC.