The Air Down There: Dairy Ops in Yakima Valley, Washington

Q & A with D’Ann Williams

Several years ago, CLF fellow D’Ann Williams, DrPH, was traveling through Yakima Valley, Washington, and was struck by an indescribable smell. The Valley is home to a great number of dairy cows in high-density operations—72 percent of the dairy facilities in the Valley have more than 500 cows each. (A point of reference: in the nation as a whole, only three percent of all dairy operations are that big.) The smell inspired a study, with colleagues Patrick Breysse, PhD, and other Center affiliates*, and it was published last fall in Environmental Health. The study measures the concentration of airborne pollutants in homes close to dairy operations, and the pollutants include particulate matter (PM) and ammonia. Many airborne contaminants are unregulated, and the health effects of exposure are unknown. Recently, I was able to talk with Williams about her research and her recommendations. Read More >