Repeated pesticide exposure among North Carolina migrant and seasonal farmworkers

Authors

  • Dr. Thomas A. Arcury PhD,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Family and Community Medicine, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina
    2. Center for Worker Health, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina
    • Department of Family and Community Medicine, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Medical Center Boulevard, Winston-Salem, NC 27157-1084.
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  • Joseph G. Grzywacz,

    1. Department of Family and Community Medicine, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina
    2. Center for Worker Health, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina
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  • Jennifer W. Talton,

    1. Division of Public Health Sciences, Department of Biostatistical Sciences, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina
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  • Haiying Chen,

    1. Division of Public Health Sciences, Department of Biostatistical Sciences, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina
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  • Quirina M. Vallejos,

    1. Department of Family and Community Medicine, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina
    2. Center for Worker Health, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina
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  • Leonardo Galván,

    1. North Carolina Farmworkers Project, Benson, North Carolina
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  • Dana B. Barr,

    1. Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia
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  • Sara A. Quandt

    1. Center for Worker Health, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina
    2. Division of Public Health Sciences, Department of Epidemiology and Prevention, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina
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Abstract

Background

Limited data document the multiple and repeated pesticide absorption experienced by farmworkers in an agricultural season or their risk factors.

Methods

Data were collected from 196 farmworkers four times at monthly intervals in 2007. Urine samples were tested for 12 pesticide urinary metabolites. Questionnaire data provided measures of exposure risks.

Results

Farmworkers had at least one detection for many pesticide urinary metabolites; for example, 84.2% had at least one detection for acephate, 88.8% for 3,5,6-trichloro-2-pyridinol. Most farmworkers had multiple detections for specific metabolites; for example, 64.8% had two or more detections for acephate, 64.8% for 3,5,6-trichloro-2-pyridinol, 79.1% for 3-phenoxybenzoic acid, and 86.7% for 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid. Housing type had a consistent significant association with metabolite detections.

Conclusions

Farmworkers are exposed to multiple pesticides across an agricultural season, and they experience repeated exposures to the same pesticides. Reducing farmworker pesticide exposure and delineating the health outcomes of this exposure require more detailed data. Am. J. Ind. Med. 53:802–813, 2010. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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