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Occupational health status of migrant and seasonal farmworkers.

McCurdy SA
Agricultural health and safety: workplace, environment, sustainability, supplement. McDuffie HH, Dosman JA, Semchuk KM, Olenchock SA, Senthilselvan A, eds. Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada: University of Saskatchewan, 1994 Oct; :213-216
Selected occupational health issues for migrant and seasonal farm workers were reviewed. For agricultural workers, unintentional injuries represent one of the most serious occupational health problems. National Safety Council data for 1987 indicated a work related fatality rate among agricultural workers of 49 deaths per 10(5) person years, making agriculture the most dangerous industrial activity of all. No data specific for fatalities among migrant and seasonal workers existed. This presents a serious problem because poor education, language barriers, and the transient nature of the work make migrant and seasonal farm workers different from other agricultural worker populations. The problems of respiratory illnesses, dermatitis, and reproductive disorders among migrant and seasonal farm workers were discussed. Respiratory health problems in farmworkers may be related to exposure to organic and inorganic dusts and toxic gases. Dermatitis was also an important occupational problem among agricultural workers in general. Exposures that can cause dermatitis included sunlight, extremes of temperature and humidity, plant toxins, irritant or allergenic chemicals, and biological agents. Exposures known to cause reproductive effects among farm workers included physically demanding work, a hot environment, and exposure to pesticides and other chemicals. The effects of these exposures are compounded by poor sanitation, poor access to health care, low socioeconomic status, and poor nutrition.
NIOSH-Cooperative-Agreement; Pulmonary-system-disorders; Occupational-health; Agricultural-workers; Seasonal-activity; Agricultural-industry; Occupational-accidents; Skin-disorders; Reproductive-effects; Epidemiology
Publication Date
Document Type
Conference/Symposia Proceedings
McDuffie HH; Dosman JA; Semchuk KM; Olenchock SA; Senthilselvan A
Funding Amount
Funding Type
Cooperative Agreement
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
Source Name
Agricultural health and safety: workplace, environment, sustainability, supplement
Performing Organization
University of California - Davis
Page last reviewed: May 11, 2023
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division