The potential health effects of CAFOS


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Some rural families may be affected by CAFO emissions (/stock) 

Natalia Welzenbach-Marcu | September 25, 2018

Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, or CAFOs, are organized structures where large numbers of livestock bred normally for food are raised in confinement. Because an immense amount of waste is produced in these facilities, waste management is important. Unfortunately, problems often arise for families living near these CAFOs, as one Iowan household discovered.

The family in question noticed health problems almost immediately after the CAFO was built, with symptoms ranging from rashes and irritated skin to digestive issues. After consulting their doctor, they suspected their troubles had something to do with the CAFO nearby.

CAFOs are not required to report the levels of their ammonia or hydrogen sulfide emissions, both of which are common for these confinement centers. The impact of emissions from CAFOs was studied by the University of Iowa and Iowa State University back in 2002.

Despite letters, calls, and inquiries, families living by CAFOs and living with the effects of these health issues will have to wait until a further decision is made.

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