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Occupational health outcomes for workers in the agriculture, forestry and fishing sector: Implications for immigrant workers in the southeastern US

Authors

  • Sara A. Quandt PhD,

    Corresponding author
    1. Center for Worker Health, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina
    • Department of Epidemiology and Prevention, Division of Public Health Sciences, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina
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  • Kristen L. Kucera PhD,

    1. Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Department of Community and Family Medicine, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina
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  • Courtney Haynes MS,

    1. Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia
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  • Bradley G. Klein PhD,

    1. Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology, Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia
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  • Ricky Langley MD,

    1. Division of Public Health, North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, Raleigh, North Carolina
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  • Michael Agnew PhD,

    1. Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia
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  • Jeffrey L. Levin MD,

    1. Department of Occupational Health Sciences, University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler, Tyler, Texas
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  • Timothy Howard PhD,

    1. Center for Worker Health, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina
    2. Center for Genomics and Personalized Medicine Research, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina
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  • Maury A. Nussbaum PhD

    1. Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia
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  • Disclosure Statement: The authors report no conflicts of interests.

Department of Epidemiology and Prevention, Division of Public Health Sciences, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Medical Center Boulevard, Winston-Salem, NC 27157. E-mail: squandt@wakehealth.edu

Abstract

Background

Workers in the Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries (AgFF) sector experience exposures directly related to the work itself, as well as the physical environment in which the work occurs. Health outcomes vary from immediate to delayed, and from acute to chronic.

Methods

We reviewed existing literature on the health outcomes of work in the AgFF sector and identified areas where further research is needed to understand the impact of these exposures on immigrant Latino workers in the southeastern US.

Results

Outcomes related to specific body systems (e.g., musculoskeletal, respiratory) as well as particular exposure sources (e.g., pesticides, noise) were reviewed. The most extensive evidence exists for agriculture, with a particular focus on chemical exposures. Little research in the southeastern US has examined health outcomes of exposures of immigrant workers in forestry or fisheries.

Conclusion

As the AgFF labor force includes a growing number of Latino immigrants, more research is needed to characterize a broad range of exposures and health outcomes experienced by this population, particularly in forestry and fisheries. Am. J. Ind. Med. 56:940–959, 2013. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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