The association of skin conditions with housing conditions among North Carolina Latino migrant farm workers

Authors

  • Cheryl J. Gustafson MD,

    1. Center for Dermatology Research, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC, USA
    2. Department of Dermatology, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC, USA
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  • Steven R. Feldman MD, PhD,

    1. Center for Dermatology Research, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC, USA
    2. Department of Dermatology, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC, USA
    3. Department of Pathology, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC, USA
    4. Department of Social Science and Health Policy, Division of Public Health Sciences, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC, USA
    5. Center for Worker Health, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC, USA
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  • Sara A. Quandt PhD,

    1. Department of Epidemiology and Prevention, Division of Public Health Sciences, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC, USA
    2. Center for Worker Health, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC, USA
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  • Scott Isom MS,

    1. Department of Biostatistical Sciences, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC, USA
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  • Haiying Chen MD, PhD,

    1. Center for Worker Health, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC, USA
    2. Department of Biostatistical Sciences, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC, USA
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  • Chaya R. Spears PhD,

    1. Center for Worker Health, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC, USA
    2. Department of Family and Community Medicine, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC, USA
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  • Thomas A. Arcury PhD

    Corresponding author
    1. Center for Worker Health, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC, USA
    2. Department of Family and Community Medicine, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC, USA
    • Correspondence

      Dr Thomas A. Arcury, phd

      Department of Family and Community Medicine

      Wake Forest School of Medicine

      Medical Center Boulevard

      Winston-Salem, NC 27157, USA

      E-mail: tarcury@wakehealth.edu

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  • Conflict of Interest: Drs Gustafson and Feldman are affiliated with the Center for Dermatology Research. This Center is supported by an unrestricted educational grant from Galderma Laboratories, L.P. Dr Feldman is a consultant and speaker for Galderma, Connetics, Abbott Labs, Warner Chilcott, Centocor, Amgen, Photomedex, Genentech, BiogenIdec and Bristol Myers Squibb. Dr Feldman has received grants from Galderma, Connetics, Astellas, Abbott Labs, Warner Chilcott, Centocor, Amgen, Photomedex, Genentech, BiogenIdec, Coria, Pharmaderm, Ortho Pharmaceuticals, Aventis Pharmaceuticals, Roche Dermatology, 3M, Bristol Myers Squibb, Stiefel, GlaxoSmithKline and Novartis, and has received stock options from Photomedex. All other authors have no conflicts to disclose.

Abstract

Background

Skin conditions are common among Latino migrant farm workers. Although many skin conditions are related to occupational exposures, poor housing conditions may also contribute to skin ailments in migrant farm workers.

Objectives

To evaluate the association between housing conditions and skin conditions among Latino migrant farm workers.

Materials and methods

A cross-sectional study design using interview questionnaires, home inspections, and environmental sampling was implemented to document housing quality of farm worker camps/homes and the prevalence of self-reported skin conditions in Latino migrant farm workers. Interviews were completed with 371 farm workers residing in 186 of the 226 camps (camp response rate 82.3%).

Results

Self-reported pruritus (31%), rash (25%), scaling (12%), blisters (11%), and ingrown nails (10%) were common among the participants. Pruritus was more likely to be reported by farm workers living in dwellings without air-conditioning (P < 0.05). Rash was associated with dwellings reported to have a low humidity (P < 0.05). Scaling was more likely to be reported by farm workers living in dwellings with indoor temperatures in the thermal discomfort range (P < 0.05). No statistically significant associations were detected for indoor allergens and self-reported skin ailments among migrant farm workers.

Conclusions

Skin conditions are common among migrant farm workers in North Carolina. The quality of housing conditions, particularly hot, dry indoor thermal environment, demonstrated significant associations with pruritus, rash, and scaling. The impact of housing characteristics on pruritus and blisters was greatest in new migrant farm workers. Further research is needed to delineate additional housing factors that could cause or exacerbate skin diseases in farm workers.

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