Early Occupational Pesticide Exposure in a Migrant Farmworker Population

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INTRODUCTION. The enhanced susceptibility of children and adolescents to the adverse effects of pesticides is a priority of regulatory agencies, whose primary concern is typically the development of risk-based regulations to protect consumers and the general population. An important subpopulation occupationally exposed to pesticides at an early age is the children of migrant and seasonal farmworkers (MSFWs). Because this group is difficult to access, information is sparse on their age distributions and chemical exposure. EPA pesticide regulations do not adequately address these younger workers. METHODS. The regular summer health screenings performed on tomato Farms in East Tennessee by Rural Medical Services Inc., a Community and Migrant Health Center, afforded and opportunity for Students in her professions to engage in community-based research to query MSFWs on issues childhood and adolescent pesticide exposure. RESULTS 132 adults participated, with 19 providing information about 33 of their children. MSFWs began working in agriculture in Mexico or Central America did so at younger ages, with 58.8% age 1838.1% of those who started in U.S. (p=0.038). Weather in the US or in Mexico/Central America the proportion of survey children under 12 years old and they began working around pesticide-treated crops was 13.1%. Wars in tomatoes fields in Southeastern U.S.CONCLUSIONS Children under 12 maybe occupationally exposed. The capital MSFW population is a largely intact source of data on childhood and adolescent occupational exposure to pesticides.


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