For most animal owners, the opportunity to save money on feed or shavings would warrant some serious discussion. After all, feeding and caring for your animals is the easily the most costly part of raising them from babies into adults.
One of the things that we hear from time to time is, "I have this local sawmill that provides me with pine sawdust and their price is a lot cheaper than yours". That is most likely the case, and there are several reasons why that may be true. But the low price you are getting on all the sawdust might just be because no one else wants it...
Most independent, local sawmills won't tell you about the dirty little secret called airborne dust particles. This isn't just some crazy made up thing, it's been a major research topic for years. Attention: If you are buying local pine sawdust straight from a sawmill, then this could be a major concern for YOU and your animal's long term health.
In fact, the problem of airborne dust particles is so bad that the World Health Organization released an entire article talking about human consumption of dust during the normal course of work. The article did not specify an particular industries, but farming is one for concern. Here is an excerpt from that specific article:
"Whenever people inhale airborne dust at work, they are at risk of occupational disease. Year after year, both in developed and in developing countries, overexposure to dusts causes disease, temporary and permanent disabilities and deaths. Dusts in the workplace may also contaminate or reduce the quality of products, be the cause of fire and explosion, and damage the environment."
As for your animals? Here is an excerpt from an article discussing airborne dust particles and it's effect on pig health:
"It is well documented in the international scientific literature that airborne dust in pig houses can cause serious health problems for humans as well as for animals."
The article continues later on.
"...Airborne dust has been recognized as a potential risk factor and/or a causal agent for respiratory diseases in pigs. Although the effects on production efficiency are not very well documented, some international reports have suggested a relationship between high dust concentrations, reduced growth rate and increased respiratory health problems in pigs. In a literature review (CIGR, 1994) it was reported that in a study of 12 commercial pig units there were positive correlations between both the respirable and inhalable dust concentrations and the average severity of lung damage in finishing pigs."
So next time you are thinking about trying to save a couple bucks by purchasing some cheaper pine sawdust, think again. It might just be more than your animal's health at risk.
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