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Wake Forest, NC, United States

Liebman A.K.,Migrant Clinicians Network Maryland Office | Wiggins M.F.,Student Action with Farmworkers | Fraser C.,North Carolina Justice Center | Levin J.,University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler | And 2 more authors.
American Journal of Industrial Medicine | Year: 2013

Background: Immigrant workers make up an important portion of the hired workforce in the Agricultural, Forestry and Fishing (AgFF) sector, one of the most hazardous industry sectors in the US. Despite the inherent dangers associated with this sector, worker protection is limited. Methods: This article describes the current occupational health and safety policies and regulatory standards in the AgFF sector and underscores the regulatory exceptions and limitations in worker protections. Immigration policies and their effects on worker health and safety are also discussed. Emphasis is placed on policies and practices in the Southeastern US. Results: Worker protection in the AgFF sector is limited. Regulatory protections are generally weaker than other industrial sectors and enforcement of existing regulations is woefully inadequate. The vulnerability of the AgFF workforce is magnified by worker immigration status. Agricultural workers in particular are affected by a long history of "exceptionalism" under the law as many regulatory protections specifically exclude this workforce. Conclusions: A vulnerable workforce and high-hazard industries require regulatory protections that, at a minimum, are provided to workers in other industries. A systematic policy approach to strengthen occupational safety and health in the AgFF sector must address both immigration policy and worker protection regulations. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Arcury T.A.,Center for Worker Health | Lu C.,Harvard University | Chen H.,Center for Worker Health | Quandt S.A.,Center for Worker Health Wake
American Journal of Industrial Medicine | Year: 2014

Background: 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. Methods: 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. Results: 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. Conclusions: 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. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Arcury T.A.,Center for Worker Health | Nguyen H.T.,Center for Worker Health | Summers P.,Center for Worker Health | Holbrook L.C.,Center for Worker Health | And 5 more authors.
American Journal of Industrial Medicine | Year: 2014

Background: Pesticide exposure poses a health risk for farmworkers. This analysis documents lifetime and current pesticide exposure of North Carolina Latino migrant farmworkers, with comparison to non-farmworker Latino immigrants. Methods: During May to October 2012, 235 Latino farmworkers and 212 Latino non-farmworkers completed interviews with items to construct measures of lifetime, current residential and occupational pesticide exposure. Results: Farmworkers experience levels of lifetime and residential pesticide exposure that are consistently greater than among non-farmworkers. Farmworkers report a large number of occupational pesticide exposures. Lifetime exposure and current residential pesticide exposure are related to social determinants. Education is inversely related to lifetime pesticide exposure for farmworkers and non-farmworkers; farmworkers with H-2A visas report greater residential pesticide exposure than those without H-2A visas. Conclusions: Occupational safety policy needs to consider these patterns of lifetime exposure when setting standards. Health care providers should be aware of the lifetime and current exposure of this vulnerable population. Am. J. Ind. Med. 57:776-787, 2014. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Quandt S.A.,Center for Worker Health | Quandt S.A.,Medical Center Boulevard | Chen H.,Center for Worker Health | Bischoff W.E.,Section on Infectious Diseases | And 2 more authors.
American Journal of Public Health | Year: 2013

Although the health risk to farmworkers of working in hot conditions is recognized, potential for excessive heat exposure in housing affecting rest and recovery has been ignored. We assessed heat index in common and sleeping rooms in 170 North Carolina farmworker camps across a summer and examined associations with time of summer and air conditioning use. We recorded dangerous heat indexes in most rooms, regardless of time or air conditioning. Policies to reduce heat indexes in farmworker housing should be developed. © 2013 American Journal of Public Health.

Kearney G.D.,East Carolina University | Rodriguez G.,Center for Worker Health | Quandt S.A.,Center for Worker Health | Arcury J.T.,Statistical Consultants Ltd | Arcury T.A.,Center for Worker Health
American Journal of Public Health | Year: 2015

Objectives. The aims of this project were to describe the work safety climate and the association between occupational safety behaviors and injuries among hired youth farmworkers in North Carolina (n = 87). Methods. We conducted personal interviews among a cross-sectional sample of youth farmworkers aged 10 to 17 years. Results. The majority of youths reported that work safety practices were very important to management, yet 38% stated that supervisors were only interested in "doing the job quickly and cheaply." Few youths reported appropriate work safety behavior, and 14% experienced an injury within the past 12 months. In bivariate analysis, perceptions of work safety climate were significantly associated with pesticide exposure risk factors for rewearing wet shoes (P = .01), wet clothes (P = .01), and shorts (P = .03). Conclusions. Youth farmworkers perceived their work safety climate as being poor. Although additional research is needed to support these findings, these results strengthen the need to increase employer awareness to improve the safety climate for protecting youth farmworkers from harmful exposures and injuries.

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