Assessing Volunteer Workers' Exposure to Dust, Metals and Bioaerosol During Equine Assisted Activities/Therapies: An Exploratory Study

Grants and Contracts Details


Equine assisted activities/therapies (EAA/T) serve youth with special needs. Many volunteers work in this setting and donate billions of dollar of volunteer hours every year. Prior survey data regarding use of indoor arenas indicates 85% of participants reported dust as a major concern. However, there are limited data to characterize exposures in these environments. This proposed project will establish preliminary data on work practice in EAA/T facilities and complete an initial evaluation of volunteer workers’ exposure to dust and dust constituents during these activities. To accomplish this pilot project, we have assembled a team with complementary expertise in qualitative research in equestrian health, exposure assessment, and aerosol science to complete the following aims. In addition to a novel population, measures will include both traditional and innovative sensor methodologies. Specifically, this pilot project proposes to 1) qualify work practices that impact volunteer workers’ exposure to airborne contaminants in EAA/T environments. We will survey facilities offering EAA/T to evaluate frequency and duration of tasks, task location at the facility, activity level of volunteers, and general volunteer demographics; 2) quantify volunteer workers’ personal exposure to respirable dust and metals on the respirable dust. We will measure PM10, respirable dust, and metals on respirable dust including iron, arsenic, lead, antimony, cadmium and manganese. Biological samples will be collected and analyzed for metals as biomarker of exposure; 3) quantify volunteer workers’ personal exposure to bioaerosol, measured as total airborne bacteria by a novel bioaerosol sampler. The results of this study will serve as preliminary data for a large grant proposal to investigate volunteer workers’ and patients’ (youth served in these activities) exposure during equine assisted activities/therapies and the potential health effects related to the exposure.
Effective start/end date7/1/1912/31/20


  • University of Cincinnati: $4,250.00


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