For more than ten years, The Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future has been studying the impacts of factory farming on consumers, animals, neighborhoods near Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) and society. After Covid-19 struck the world, the problems with CAFOs have become even more obvious. In this study, Johns Hopkins lays out some of the health problems associated with communicable diseases and gives a path for safeguarding human health:

Resources regarding health of people near CAFOs: We know you don’t want to read all these right away, but here’s a list to get you started on some hot, muggy day (or some frigid night) when you’re holed up inside! Or just scan through the titles to see what’s available.

We can think of many reasons for a moratorium on Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations–threats to water aquifers, rampant disease in existing facilities, growing evidence for human health dangers from chemicals used to raise grains for animal feeds–and this call from America’s largest public health organization is a welcome piece of news. On the state level, Iowa’s many organizations are asking for a statewide moratorium. Iowa, with its problems in urban water purification after rural CAFO pollution, may lead us to better policy for the future.


Akdeniz, N., et al. (2012) Odor and Odorous Chemical Emissions from Animal Buildings: Part 2. Transactions of the ASABE. Vol 55 No. 6: 2235-2245.

Barrett, J.R. (2006). Hogging the air: CAFO emissions reach into schools. Environmental Health Perspectives 114.

Batt, A.L., Snow, D.D., & Aga, D.S. (2006). Occurrence of sulfonamide antimicrobials in private water wells in Washington County, Idaho, USA. Chemosphere, 64(11), 1963–1971.

Bayer, R. (2007). The continuing tensions between individual rights and public health. EMBO Reports. Vol 8, No. 12: 1099-1103.

Bereznicki, S.D., et. al. (2012) Odor and Odorous Chemical Emissions from Animal Buildings: Part 1. Project Overview, Collection Methods, and Quality Control. Transactions of the ASABE. Vol 55 No. 6: 2325-2334.

Bowman, A., Mueller, K., & Smith, M. (2000). Increased animal waste production from concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs): Potential implications for public and environmental health. Nebraska Center for Rural Health Research.

Bradford SA, Segal E, Zheng W, Wang Q, Hutchins SR. (2008) Reuse of concentrated animal feeding operation wastewater on agricultural lands. Journal of Environmental Quality. Sep-Oct;37 (5 Suppl):S97-S115.

Buka, I., et al. (2006). The effects of air pollution on the health of children. Paediatr Child Health. Oct; 11(8): 513–516.

Burkholder, J., Libra, B., Weyer, P., Heathcote, S., Kolpin, D., Thorne, P., et al. (2007). Impacts of waste from concentrated animal feeding operations on water quality. Environmental Health Perspectives, 11(2), 308–312.

Burns, R., Xin, H., Gates, R., Li, H., Hoff, S., Moody, L., et al. (2007). Tyson broiler ammonia emission monitoring project: Final report.

Carrel, M., (2014). Residential Proximity to Large Numbers of Swine in Feeding Operations Is Associated with Increased Risk of Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)…Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology. Vol. 35, No. 2 (February), pp. 190-192.

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Cerro Gordo County, Iowa. (2002). Ordinance #40: Animal confinement moratorium ordinance.

Chapin, A. et al. (2005) Airborne Multidrug-Resistant Bacteria Isolated from a Concentrated Swine Feeding Operation. Environmental Health Perspectives • VOLUME 113; NUMBER 2: 137-142.

Cimitile, M. (2009). Crops absorb livestock antibiotics, science shows. Environmental Health News. January.

Cogliani, C., Goossens, H., and Greko, C. (2011) “Restricting Antimicrobial Use in Food Animals: Lessons from Europe,” Microbe, no. 6: 274-9.

Congressional Research Service. (2008). Animal waste and water quality: EPA regulation of concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs).

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Dakota Rural Action. (2006). CAFO economic impact.

Davis, G. S., and L. B. Price. (2016). Recent research examining links among Klebsiella pneumoniae from food, food animals, and human extraintestinal infections. Current Environmental Health Reports 3(2):128–135.

Donham, K.J. (2010). Community and occupational health concerns in pork production–A review. Journal of Animal Science.

Donham, K.J., Wing, S., Osterberg, D., Flora, J.L., Hodne, C., Thu, K.M., et al. (2007). Community health and socioeconomic issues surrounding CAFOs. Environmental Health Perspectives 115(2), 317–320.

Economou, V. and Gousia, P. (2015) Agriculture and food animals as a source of antimicrobial-resistant bacteria. Infect Drug Resist. 8: 49–61.

Edwards, B. (2013) CAFOs and Environmental Justice: The Case of North Carolina. Environmental Health Perspectives. Vol 121, No. 6: A182-A189.

Elliott, K. 2015. Antibiotic on the farm: Agriculture’s role in drug resistance. Center for Global Development.

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Fox, C. (2011). Resisting antibiotic resistance: legal strategies to maintain man’s dominion over microbes. HOUS. Journal of HEALTH L. & POLICY 35–62.,+C.+(2011).+Resisting+antibiotic+resistance&hl=en&as_sdt=0&as_vis=1&oi=scholart

Gibbs, SG., et al. (2006). Isolation of Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria from the Air Plume Downwind of a Swine Confined or Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation. Environmental Health Perspectives, Vol. 114, No. 7: 1032-1037.


Hatcher, SM, et al. (2016) The Prevalence of Antibiotic-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Nasal Carriage among Industrial Hog Operation Workers, Community Residents, and Children Living in Their Households: North Carolina, USA. Environ Health Perspect. Oct 18.

Hatcher, SM, et al. (2016) Occurrence of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in surface waters near industrial hog operation spray fields. Sci Total Environ. 565: 1028-1036.

Heederik, D., Sigsgaard, T., Thorne, P.S., Kline, J.N., Avery, R., Bønløkke, et al. (2007). Health effects of airborne exposures from concentrated animal feeding operations. Environmental Health Perspectives, 115(2), 298–302.

Herriges, J.A., Secchi, S., & Babcock, B.A. (2005). Living with hogs in Iowa: The impact of livestock facilities on rural residential property values. Land Economics, 81, 530–545.

Hodne, C. J. (2005) Concentrating on Clean Water: The Challenge of Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations. The Iowa Policy Project.

Horrigan, L., Lawrence, R.S., & Walker, P. (2002). How sustainable agriculture can address theenvironmental and human health harms of industrial agriculture. Environmental Health Perspectives, 110(5), 445–456.

Hribar, C. and Schultz, M. (2010). Understanding Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations and Their Impact on Communities. National Association of Local Boards of Health.

Huijsdens, X.W., et. al. (2006). Community-acquired MRSA and pig-farming. Annals of Clinical Microbiology and Antimicrobials. 5:26.

Jacobson, LD, et. al. (2005). Development of the OFFSET (Odor from feedlots – setback estimation tool) for determination of Odor-Annoyance-Free Setback Distances from Animal Production Sites: Part I. Model Development and Evaluations. Transactions of ASAE. Vol 48(6): 2259-2268.

Jacobson, LD, et. al. (2005). Development of the OFFSET (Odor from feedlots – setback estimation tool) for determination of Odor-Annoyance-Free Setback Distances from Animal Production Sites: Part II. Model Development and Evaluations. Transactions of ASAE. Vol 48(6): 2269-2276.


Kaufman, M. (2000). Worries rise over effect of antibiotics in animal feed; Humans seen vulnerable to drug-resistant germs. Washington Post, p. A01.

Kleinman, MT. (2000). The health effects of air pollution on children. Prepared for California Air Resources Board, California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment. Irvine, CA: University of California Irvine Department of Community and Environmental Medicine.

Littmann, J. (2015). The Ethical Significance of Antimicrobial Resistance. Public Health Ethics. Vol. 8, No. 3. 209-224.

Lorimor, J. et al. (2010) Chapter 10. Emissions Control Systems. In: Iowa Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations Air Quality Study Final Report. pp. 202-212.

MacDonald, J.M. and McBride, W.D. (2009). The transformation of U.S. livestock agriculture: Scale, efficiency, and risks. United States Department of Agriculture.

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Massey, R. and Ulmer, A. (2008). Agriculture and greenhouse gas emission. University of MissouriExtension.

Merkel, M. (2002). Raising a stink: Air emissions from factory farms. Environmental Integrity Project. Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) Toxics Steering Group (TSG). (2006).

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Mirabelli, M.C., Wing, S., Marshall, S.W., & Wilcosky, T.C. (2006). Race, poverty, and potential exposure of middle-school students to air emissions from confined swine feeding operations. Environmental Health Perspectives, 114(4), 591–596.

Nadimpalli, M. et al. (2016) Livestock-Associated, Antibiotic-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Nasal Carriage and Recent Skin and Soft Tissue Infection among Industrial Hog Operation Workers. PLoS One. 11(11):e0165713.

Nicolai, R. and Pohl, S. Understanding livestock odors. South Dakota Cooperative Extension Services. Publ. FS-925.

O’Neill, J. (2015). Antimicrobials in agriculture and the environment: Reducing unnecessary use and waste: The Review on Antimicrobial Resistance.

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Pew Charitable Trusts. (2013). Antibiotic Resistance Project, GAIN: How a New Law Is Stimulating the Development of Antibiotics (Philadelphia, PA: Pew Charitable Trusts, November 7).

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Purdue Extension. (2007). Contained animal feeding operations—Insect considerations.

Purdue Extension. (2008). Community impacts of CAFOs: Property value.

Rhouma, M., et al. (2016). Colistin in Pig Production: Chemistry, Mechanism of Antibacterial Action, Microbial Resistance Emergence, and One Health Perspectives. Front. Microbiol. Vol. 7:1-22.

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Schmalzried, H.D. & Fallon, L.F., Jr. (2007). Large-scale dairy operations: Assessing concerns of neighbors about quality-of-life issues. Journal of Dairy Science, 90(4), 2047-2051.

Schmalzried, H.D. & Fallon, L.F., Jr. (2008). A proactive approach for local public health districts to address concerns about proposed large-scale dairy operations. Ohio Journal of Environmental Health, Fall/Winter 2008, 20-25.

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Sigurdarson,S.T. & Kline, I.N. (2006). School proximity to concentrated animal feeding operations and prevalence of asthma in students. Chest, 129, 1486–1491.

Sneeringer, S., et al. (2015). Economics of antibiotic use in U.S. livestock production. USDA.

Spellberg, B. (2016). Antibiotic Resistance in Humans and Animals. Natl Acad Med.

Spellman, F.R. & Whiting, N.E. (2007). Environmental management of concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs). Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.

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Ventola, CL. (2015) The Antibiotic Resistance Crisis Part 1. Causes and Threats. P & T. Vol. 40, No. 4: 277-283.

Ventola, CL. (2015) The Antibiotic Resistance Crisis Part 2. Management Strategies and New Agents. P & T Vol. 40, No. 5: 344-352.

Von Essen, SG and Auvermann, BW. (2005). Health Effects from Breathing Air Near CAFOs for Feeder Cattle or Hogs. Journal of Agromedicine, Vol. 10(4): 55-64.

Wang, H., et al. (2017). The antibiotic resistance of swine manure is significantly altered by association with the Musca domestica larvae gut microbiome. ISME Journal 11, 100-111. January.

Wisconsin Dept. of Health Services. (2015) CAFOs and Public Health. P-00777.

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