Our objective was to update a previous review of the scientific literature of the impact of living near animal feeding operations on human health. We conducted a search of the literature in October 2014. Studies reporting any measure of exposure to animal feeding operations (e.g. odor severity, endotoxin levels in air, distance from animal feeding operations) and a measure of human health (not occupational) were eligible. Two independent reviewers screened 3702 titles/abstracts and assessed 85 full-text articles for eligibility. Data were extracted from 16 papers. Over 400 exposure disease associations were reported by the 16 papers. Studied populations included residents in North America and Europe exposed to swine, cattle, poultry, mink and small ruminant populations. Several publications were based on the same study population. The update found evidence that people living near goat farms are at increased risk of contracting Q fever, although this question was only studied in Europe. There was also new data about the association between MRSA infection in people and living near animal feeding operations, however the association was unclear, mainly due to a deficiency of studies on this topic. The association between other human health outcomes, especially those related to upper and lower respiratory disease are unchanged from our conclusion in the previous review: “There was inconsistent evidence of a weak association between living near an animal feeding operation and self-reported disease in people with allergies or familial history of allergies. If the question of health impacts of living near animal production remains of interest, large long-term prospective studies will be required especially if non-specific clinical symptoms are the outcome of interest.”
Contact information: Annette M. O’Connor ([email protected]), Rm 2424 Lloyd Vet Med Building College of Veterinary Medicine, Iowa State University