The Quality of Drinking Water in North Carolina Farmworker Camps.
ABSTRACT Objectives. The purpose of this study was to assess water quality in migrant farmworker camps in North Carolina and determine associations of water quality with migrant farmworker housing characteristics. Methods. We collected data from 181 farmworker camps in eastern North Carolina during the 2010 agricultural season. Water samples were tested using the Total Coliform Rule (TCR) and housing characteristics were assessed using North Carolina Department of Labor standards. Results. A total of 61 (34%) of 181 camps failed the TCR. Total coliform bacteria were found in all 61 camps, with Escherichia coli also being detected in 2. Water quality was not associated with farmworker housing characteristics or with access to registered public water supplies. Multiple official violations of water quality standards had been reported for the registered public water supplies. Conclusions. Water supplied to farmworker camps often does not comply with current standards and poses a great risk to the physical health of farmworkers and surrounding communities. Expansion of water monitoring to more camps and changes to the regulations such as testing during occupancy and stronger enforcement are needed to secure water safety.
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ABSTRACT: Objectives. We sought to (1) describe observed cooking and eating facilities in migrant farmworker camps, (2) compare observed conditions with existing farmworker housing regulations, and (3) examine associations of violations with camp characteristics. Methods. We collected data in 182 farmworker camps in eastern North Carolina during the 2010 agricultural season. We compared our observations with 15 kitchen-related housing regulations specified by federal and state housing standards. Results. We observed violations of 8 regulations in at least 10% of camps: improper refrigerator temperature (65.5%), cockroach infestation (45.9%), contaminated water (34.4%), rodent infestation (28.9%), improper flooring (25.8%), unsanitary conditions (21.2%), improper fire extinguisher (19.9%), and holes or leaks in walls (12.1%). Logistic regression showed that violations were related to the time of the agricultural season, housing type, number of dwellings and residents, and presence of workers with H-2A visas. Conclusions. Cooking and eating facilities for migrant farmworkers fail to comply with regulations in a substantial number of camps. Greater enforcement of regulations, particularly during occupancy during the agricultural season, is needed to protect farmworkers. (Am J Public Health. Published online ahead of print January 17, 2013: e1-e7. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2012.300831).American Journal of Public Health 01/2013; 103(3). DOI:10.2105/AJPH.2012.300831 · 4.23 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Migrant farmworkers are exposed to pesticides at work. Housing provided to migrant farmworkers may also expose them to pesticides, increasing their health risks. This analysis (1) describes the presence of organophosphorous (OP) and pyrethroid pesticides in North Carolina migrant farmworker houses, and (2) delineates associations of farmworker camp characteristics with pesticide detection and concentration. In 2010, 186 migrant farmworkers camps in NC were recruited (participation rate of 82.3%); pesticide wipe samples for 176 houses were analyzed. Tobacco is the predominant hand-harvested crop in this region. Two farmworkers per camp completed interviews; a third assisted with a housing inspection. Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry was used to detect OP and pyrethroid pesticides. Covariates of pesticide detection and concentration were determined with ANOVA and Tobit regression. OPs were found in 166 of 176 houses (average of 2.4/house); pyrethroids were found in 171 houses (average of 4.3/house). The number of different OPs detected in each camp and concentrations of these OPs were not associated with camp and housing characteristics. The number of different pyrethroids detected in each camp and concentrations of these pyrethroids were associated with camps having residents with H2-A visas, a posted North Carolina Department of Labor Certificate of Inspection, no barracks, fewer residents, no bedroom weather protection or floor violations, and no roaches. Farmworkers are exposed to pesticides where they live. Policy on removing pesticides from farmworker houses is needed. Reducing pesticides in farmworker houses will reduce one health risk confronted by this vulnerable population. Am. J. Ind. Med. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.American Journal of Industrial Medicine 03/2014; 57(3). DOI:10.1002/ajim.22232 · 1.59 Impact Factor