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Respirator use among US farm operators: evidence from the 2006 Farm and Ranch Safety Survey.

Syamlal G; Schleiff PL; Mazurek JM; Doney B; Greskevitch M
J Agromedicine 2013 Jan; 18(1):27-38
The objective of this study was to estimate the national prevalence of respirator use among primary farm operators in the United States. The authors analyzed the 2006 Farm and Ranch Safety Survey data collected for 12,278 actively farming primary farm operators. Weighted prevalence and adjusted prevalence ratios (PRs) of respirator use were calculated by farm operator characteristics, farm characteristics, and selected exposures/hazards. Of the estimated 2.1 million farm operators, 37.2% used a respirator on their farm. Respirator use prevalence was significantly higher among operators aged 16-34 years than those aged >/=65 years (46.9% vs. 30.0%; PR = 1.6); male than female operators (39.0% vs. 24.4%; PR = 1.6); operators managing crop farms than operators managing livestock farms (40.9% vs. 33.7%; PR = 1.2); and operators managing farms with value of sales >/=$100,000 than operators managing farms with value of sales ≤$9999 (57.4% vs. 31.4%; PR = 1.8). Of the operators who used a respirator, 69.9% used while working in a dusty environment, 22.6% used while applying/handling pesticides, and 30.4% used while doing other farm-related activities. These results show that an estimated one third of operators used respirators in 2006, and respirator use is most frequent among operators working in a dusty environment. Additional research identifying specific exposures for which respirators or dust masks are used, barriers to respirator or dust mask use, motivators for wearing respirators, and opportunities to increase the use of respiratory protection among farm operators, particularly on smaller farms, is needed.
Respirators; Farmers; Agricultural-industry; Agriculture; Exposure-levels; Hazards; Age-groups; Humans; Men; Women; Statistical-analysis; Dust-exposure; Dusts; Particulate-dust; Pesticides; Pesticides-and-agricultural-chemicals; Surveillance; Author Keywords: Agriculture worker; farm operator; occupational exposure; respirator
Girija Syamlal, MBBS, MPH, Division of Respiratory Disease Studies, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1095 Willowdale Road, Mail Stop HG 900.2, Morgantown, WV 26505
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Journal of Agromedicine
Page last reviewed: May 13, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division