For more: http://www.extension.org/67660 Gypsum products created from construction industry waste streams provide low-input cost bedding. Some dairies report decreased somatic cell counts in milk with its use.
Recently, several incidents involving human and livestock death or injury have highlighted the possible creation of dangerous gases at farms using gypsum bedding. Human lives were lost at two separate events. In a third incident, a 2-year old and 4-year old were found unconscious adjacent to a manure storage where gypsum was present. In the European Union (EU) several agencies have forbade the use of gypsum as bedding based on losses of livestock as well as previous policies that restricted gypsum from landfill disposal.
Gypsum is a common term for hydrated calcium sulfate (CaSO4¬-2H2O). It is suspected that under the right manure storage conditions anaerobic bacteria convert the sulfur (S) in gypsum to hydrogen sulfide (H2S), a gas that can be deadly. Movement such as agitation of manure can lead to large H2S fluxes and localized dangerous levels of the gas.
While this is concerning, there remain many farms that utilize gypsum without incident. Data on this subject are lacking.
The goal of this symposium presentation is to update attendees on this ‘current event’ in manure management.
LPELC Waste to Worth ConferenceDenver, COApril 4, 2013Robb MeinenPenn State Dept. of Animal Science(814) firstname.lastname@example.orgGypsum BeddingRisks and Recommendations for Manure Handling
What is gypsum bedding?• By-product of drywall/construction industry• Low-cost bedding input• Some report increased health & mild quality• Contains Sulfate Dihydrate• CaSO4-2H2O• Northeast regional use• Unsure of national use
Farm #2 - Child death (2011)2-year old found here• Gutter collection under floorleads to storage• Father agitating• Gypsum bedding used
Farm #3 – 3 deaths (May 2012)• Father, 18 year old, 14 year old• Truck & tractor still running• Bodies recovered from storage• Farm beds with gypsum only• Later worker reports temporaryblindness after agitation
Farm #4 - Dog dies, Man Hospitalized (Aug 2012)• Kelowna, BC• Solid manure at cattle feedlot• Man trying to perform CPR on dog• At least he called his brother before getting off tractor• A reminder that manures do not need to be liquid or containgypsum to be deadly
Additional scenario for caution:the breaking of storage crust
2 very early studiesWe hope to build on these pre-trials
PSU Study• Benchtop• Small volumes• Dairy manure• Treatments:1. No gypsum2. Low amount gypsum3. High amount gypsum• Gypsum increased H2S emission• Large spikes occur during agitation vs. static– (Purple compared to adjacent Green bar, and Orangecompared to adjacent Light Blue bar)ppmH2S 1 81 8 24 51 79 103 163 242Hours after PreparationEileen Wheeler, Mike Hile, teal.
Wisconsin Study• Benchtop• Small volumes• Dairy manure from anaerobic system• Treatments:1. No gypsum2. Gypsum• Gypsum increased H2S emission• H2S increases sharply after gypsum addition andthen levels off• No agitationRebecca Larson and Asli Ozkaynak
Confined Spaces– Do not enter them!!– Gases can cause loss ofconsciousness and death.– Always assume there are gasespresent.
Gases• Some are odorless• Most are colorless• Some are explosive• Some sink• Some rise• If it ‘aint Oxygen –you ‘aint breathing!
If someone is overcome by gas1. Ventilate – turn on fans- open doors, curtains, covers2. Call 911 – mention confined space3. Cease agitation or manure movement• Do not go in after an unconscious person!– 22% of Ag confined space deaths occur to rescuers.(Field & Beaver, 2009, Purdue University)• Always carry a mobile phone or radio when workingaround manure.
Some gypsum policies of note• Some policies in the European Union haveprohibited gypsum use for bedding• Some EU and US landfills will not acceptgypsum due to gas concerns
Conclusions & Questions• Open-air storages need respect• Gypsum highly suspected as trigger to H2Sproduction• More work & information is needed– Consider adding these measurements orvariables to your research and field work• Please pass these concerns to your producerclientele