Air Quality Concerns

General directions of winds blowing expected odors from Badgerwood CAFO.
Click picture for closeup view.

Toxic gases, vapors, and particles are emitted from CAFOs (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation) into the general environment. These include ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, carbon dioxide, noxious vapors, and particles contaminated with a wide range of microorganisms. Not only do the facilities themselves pollute the air, the smell of the liquid manure (when it's spread on the fields) can travel for miles, depending on wind speed and air temperature and humidity.  

  • Bioaerosols are a major component of the particulate matter from CAFOs. Bioaerosols are simply particles of biological origin that are suspended in air. These include bacteria, fungi, fungal and bacterial spores, viruses, mammalian cell debris, products of microorganisms, pollens, and aeroallergens (Table 3-1). Bacterial and fungal bioaerosols may be of infectious or non-infectious species. Bacterial products or components exist as bioaerosols and include endotoxins, exotoxins, peptidoglycans, lipoteichoic acids, and bacterial DNA bearing CpG motifs. (
  • Health effects associated with inhalation of toxins and bioaerosols are manifold. Medical problems commonly associated with inhaled agents include respiratory diseases (asthma, hypersensitivity pneumonitis, industrial bronchitis), cardiovascular events (sudden death associated with particulate air pollution), and neuropsychiatric conditions (due to odor as well as delayed effects of toxic inhalations).  (
  •  A group of eight organizations, including the Humane Society of the United States, Center for Food Safety and the Sierra Club, filed two lawsuits in January 2015 against the EPA for not doing enough to control emissions from CAFOs. One lawsuit deals with ammonia pollution, and the other addresses methane and other air pollutants. (

manure fumes Disasters do happen!

Nearly 1100 Hogs Killed by Hydrogen Sulfide Gas in Tracy, Taken to Nearby Landfill to be Buried
November 4, 2015 news video/article
Who TV, DesMoines, IA

It makes me emotional just thinking about if someone would have stepped in the building.
— an Iowa hog farmer, who knows what happened could have been a lot worse, and is thankful that his wife and brothers-in-law didn’t die

As you can see if the fans stop the pigs die. These gases are vented outside the barns and into the neighborhood every day?? What about the down wind people being constantly exposed to varying levels of these poisons? (See wind rose at top of page.)


Iowa Father, Son Die From Manure Pit Fumes
July 30, 2015 article
DeMoines Register

A father and his son who were so close that they were “like glue” were killed Saturday by noxious fumes from a northwest Iowa hog manure pit — the second father and son in the Midwest to die of poisonous manure pit gases this month....

The Iowa case is not isolated; on July 7 a father and son were killed at a Wisconsin farm while trying to retrieve a broken wheel from a hog manure pit, according to the Bullvine, a news outlet for dairy farmers.

In 2007, four Virginia family members and a hired farm hand were killed by gases at a dairy farm while trying to save one another, according to the Washington Post.
— DesMoines Register, July 30, 2015
The Chippewa County Sheriffs Office said that Rodney went down into a manure pit by climbing down a ladder through a pipe about four feet around. He was trying to retrieve a wheel that broke of off a manure conveyor, but was overcome by manure gas. His son, Jeremy, then went in to try to rescue him.

Officials believe both men died within minutes.
—, Eau Claire, WI, July 2, 2015

Factory farms create jobs? Nice place to work!

A slideshow by Bob Watson and Larry Stone

The slideshow below (click the arrows to view) was used in a presentation Bob Watson, from Decorah Iowa, gave at the Washburn Library on September 23, 2015. Bob described what Iowa is like for those people who live or go to school near CAFOs. He explained what happens to the environment and to human health as a result of confinement waste and gases—a glimpse of what our future will be like if the Badgerwood CAFO goes forward.


Bob has put together a "460 study packet for boards of health". The packet, which includes the Jillian Fry Johns Hopkins study (a seminal paper on air quality issues), shows the gap between "known public health threats" from industrial ag, and what officialdom is doing to protect the public from those threats.

The packet contains 177 of the 192 studies on hydrogen-sulfide and ammonia that were included in Bob's 2012 EPA lawsuit. These studies were not disputed by the Washington DC Federal District Court. The lawsuit asks that the EPA put hydrogen-sulfide and ammonia on the regulated list (they are currently only on the toxic list), and asks that confinements be designated stationary sources of those gases.

Bob's additional confinement information and studies can be seen at appendix E.

Download/print the slideshow.