Pesticide safety behaviors in Latino farmworker family households


  • Study location: Wake Forest University School of Medicine.



Studies to assess pesticide exposure of individuals living in agricultural settings suggest that farmworkers create a “take-home” pathway from the fields to the home that increases exposure risk for non-farmworker household members.


A survey was conducted with 142 Latino women in farmworker family households in North Carolina to identify predictors of adherence to pesticide safety behaviors that may affect take-home exposure risk. Behaviors included changing work clothes before entering the house, storing and washing contaminated work clothes separately from family clothing, and showering upon returning home.


The number of farmworkers in the household was negatively associated with adherence to recommended changing, storing, and showering behaviors. Most workers followed recommended laundry procedures for work clothes.


Results support existing evidence for a take-home pathway for pesticide residues in homes with several farmworkers. Pesticide safety education needs to reinforce behaviors that reduce take-home exposure in farmworker households. Am. J. Ind. Med. 49:271–280, 2006. © 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.