A longitudinal assessment of occupation, respiratory symptoms, and blood lead levels among latino day laborers in a non-agricultural setting

Authors

  • Felicia A. Rabito PhD,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Epidemiology, Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, New Orleans, Louisiana
    • Department of Epidemiology, Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, 1440 Canal Street, SL-18, New Orleans, LA 70112.
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  • Sara Perry MPH,

    1. Department of Epidemiology, Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, New Orleans, Louisiana
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  • Oscar Salinas MD,

    1. Department of Epidemiology, Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, New Orleans, Louisiana
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  • John Hembling MPH,

    1. Department of Epidemiology, Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, New Orleans, Louisiana
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  • Norine Schmidt MPH,

    1. Department of Epidemiology, Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, New Orleans, Louisiana
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  • Patrick J. Parsons PhD,

    1. Laboratory of Inorganic and Nuclear Chemistry, Wadsworth Center, New York State Department of Health, Department of Environmental Health Sciences, University at Albany, Albany, New York
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  • Patricia Kissinger PhD

    1. Department of Epidemiology, Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, New Orleans, Louisiana
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Abstract

Background

The reliance on Latino migrant day labor in the U.S. is increasing. Prospective data on day laborers' work and health experience in non-agriculture settings are lacking and outcomes are generally restricted to injury rates.

Methods

An ambidirectional study was conducted to quantify the number of job and job task changes held over 12 months in a cohort of 73 migrant day laborers and assessed the relation between work type, health symptoms, and blood lead level.

Results

On average, participants worked 2.4 different jobs over the past year averaging 41.5 hr per week. Construction work was associated with a twofold increase in sino-nasal and respiratory symptoms in both adjusted and unadjusted models and was associated with increased blood lead levels.

Conclusions

Despite day labor status, workers had relatively stable employment. Respiratory symptoms were common and often improved when away from work suggesting that workplace irritant exposure is likely. Migrant day laborers working construction are vulnerable to adverse health effects associated with irritant and lead exposure. Am. J. Ind. Med. 54:366–374, 2011. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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