Lung health study of poultry producers in Huron-Perth

(Photo courtesy Farm & Food Care Ontario)

A summer student at the Gateway Centre of Excellence in Rural Health will be looking for ways to reduce the risk of lung disease in poultry farmers.

Grace Bonnett said it’s difficult for poultry farmers to completely prevent lung problems because of their daily exposure to the dust and bacteria in their barns.

“We’ll be looking at that to create prevention measures and look at things like mask-fitting, but specifically with poultry workers in the barns there’s a high percentage of bacteria that is inhaled on a daily basis,” she said.

Bonnett said a key part of what she’ll be doing this summer is looking for ways to detect it before it gets to those later stages.

“So it’s trying to reduce the risk, and early detection is really important because Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder develops gradually and it’s often not noticed until it’s in significant stages, at which point lung health has deteriorated so much that it’s hard to come back from,” she said.

Bonnett has completed her third year at the University of Toronto. She’s pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Life Sciences with a major in Human Biology and a double minor in Immunology and Sociology.