Job Activities and Respiratory Symptoms Among Farmworkers in North Carolina

Department of Epidemiology and Prevention, Divisionof Public Health Sciences, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Medical Center Boulevard, Winston-Salem, NC 27157-1063, USA.
Archives of Environmental and Occupational Health (Impact Factor: 0.47). 07/2011; 66(3):178-82. DOI: 10.1080/19338244.2010.539637
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Respiratory health is an important component of the ability to perform physically demanding work. The authors assessed respiratory symptom prevalence among Latino farmworkers engaged in crop production, and investigated work activities as risk factors for respiratory symptoms. During June to September 2008, 122 farmworkers completed up to 3 questionnaires. The authors estimated associations between work activities and wheezing symptoms using alternating logistic regression, controlling for age and smoking. At the first data collection, 29 (24%) farmworkers reported ever wheezing and 10 (8%) reported wheezing within the past month. Though not statistically significant, the odds of wheezing were elevated for individuals who reported performing tobacco-related work in the last 3 days. The odds were decreased among individuals who reported harvesting activities (odds ratio: 0.3, 95% confidence interval: 0.1, 1.0). Among Latino farmworkers, respiratory symptoms may be associated with work activities.

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    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
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: To evaluate associations of agricultural work and migration on self-reported respiratory symptoms in a Latino farm worker sample. Work history and respiratory symptoms were assessed in 702 workers through interviews in a community-based cohort. Prevalence was 6% for asthma, 5% for chronic cough, 3% for chronic bronchitis, and 7% for persistent wheeze. The total number of years in agriculture was associated with asthma; however, time-weighted average dust exposure, use of protective equipment, and pesticide use in the past 12 months were not associated with respiratory outcomes. Living 15 years or more in the United States (adjusted odds ratio = 3.60; 95% confidence interval = 1.16 to 11.16) and medium/high acculturation (adjusted odds ratio = 6.06; 95% confidence interval = 1.40 to 26.29) were associated with increased odds of asthma in women. Analysis of this community-based Latino farm worker cohort identified associations with asthma, particularly with migration factors in women.
    Journal of occupational and environmental medicine / American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine 02/2015; 57(2):152-8. DOI:10.1097/JOM.0000000000000325 · 1.80 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: ABSTRACT Farm labor housing has been described as among the worst in the nation, oftentimes with poor and unsanitary indoor living conditions. The objective of this study was to evaluate the association between indoor environmental risk factors and respiratory health among migrant farmworker occupants (N = 352) living in employer-provided housing. A cross-sectional sample of adult Latino male farm laborers were administered a questionnaire to identify the prevalence of major respiratory symptoms. Self-reported and independent observations were made to evaluate environmental respiratory risk factors and indoor housing conditions, including but not limited to, the presence of cockroaches, rodents, pesticides, and visible signs of mold. Spirometry was performed to evaluate lung function using FEV1 (forced expiratory volume in 1 second), FVC (forced vital capacity), and FEV1 /FVC ratio. Bivariate analysis was applied to evaluate associations between respiratory symptoms and selected indoor environmental risk factors. Findings for respiratory health included prevalence of wheeze (11.4%), coughing up phlegm (17.3%), tightness of chest (16.8%), and runny or stuffy nose (34.4%). Respiratory risks identified inside the dwellings included the use of pesticides or bug sprays for cockroaches (31.5%), rat or mouse poison (19.5%), visible signs of water damage in the bathroom (22.5%), and mold in the sleeping room (11.1%). Spirometry values were normal for most occupants, although statistically significant associations were found between mold and coughing up phlegm when not having a cold (P = .0262); presence of mold and asthma (P = .0084); pesticides used in the home and tightness of chest (P = .0001); and use of tobacco and coughing up phlegm (P = .0131). Although causal inference can be difficult to establish from a cross-sectional study, findings from this study represents suggestive evidence that indoor environmental risk factors may be contributory factors for respiratory health problems among this vulnerable workgroup population.
    Journal of Agromedicine 10/2014; 19(4):395-405. DOI:10.1080/1059924X.2014.947458 · 0.92 Impact Factor

Full-text (4 Sources)

Available from
May 30, 2014