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Endotoxin exposures during harvesting and processing cannabis at an outdoor cannabis farm

  • James R. CouchEmail author
  • Nancy C. Burton
  • Kerton R. Victory
  • Brett J. Green
  • Angela R. Lemons
  • Ajay P. Nayak
  • Donald H. Beezhold
Brief communication

Abstract

Legalization of medicinal and recreational cannabis use in numerous states within the USA has resulted in the increased commercial cultivation of cannabis. Outdoor cannabis farming operations present a variety of potential physical, chemical, and biological hazards that currently remain uncharacterized. Worker exposures to endotoxins were evaluated at an outdoor US cannabis farm during harvesting and processing activities. Endotoxin area air sample concentrations ranged from below the limit of detection to 15 endotoxin units per cubic meter (EU/m3). Endotoxin breathing zone measurements (2.8–37 EU/m3) were below the Dutch Expert Committee on Occupational Safety occupational exposure limit of 90 /m3. During confidential medical interviews, no adverse health effects were reported by workers while harvesting or processing cannabis. Further endotoxin exposure assessments should be performed especially in larger, indoor cannabis operations where a confined environment may result in higher endotoxin exposures than observed in this outdoor environment.

Keywords

Endotoxin Exposure assessment Cannabis Marijuana 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The authors declare no conflict of interest. The authors would like to thank the following individuals: the farm owner and all employees, Donald Booher, Kevin Moore, Bradley King, Charles Neumeister, and Jennifer Roberts.

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Copyright information

© This is a U.S. government work and its text is not subject to copyright protection in the United States; however, its text may be subject to foreign copyright protection 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • James R. Couch
    • 1
    Email author
  • Nancy C. Burton
    • 1
  • Kerton R. Victory
    • 2
  • Brett J. Green
    • 3
  • Angela R. Lemons
    • 3
  • Ajay P. Nayak
    • 4
  • Donald H. Beezhold
    • 5
  1. 1.Hazard Evaluations and Technical Assistance Branch, Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations and Field Studies, Centers for Disease Control and PreventionNational Institute for Occupational Safety and HealthCincinnatiUSA
  2. 2.Office of the Director, Emergency Preparedness and Response Office, Centers for Disease Control and PreventionNational Institute for Occupational Safety and HealthAtlantaUSA
  3. 3.Allergy and Clinical Immunology Branch, Health Effects Laboratory Division, Centers for Disease Control and PreventionNational Institute for Occupational Safety and HealthMorgantownUSA
  4. 4.Center for Translational MedicineThomas Jefferson UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA
  5. 5.Office of the Director, Health Effects Laboratory Division, Centers for Disease Control and PreventionNational Institute for Occupational Safety and HealthMorgantownUSA

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