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Agricultural work exposures and pulmonary function among hired farm workers in California (the MICASA study).

Rodriquez EJ; Stoecklin-Marois MT; Bennett DH; Tancredi DJ; Schenker MB
J Agromedicine 2014 Oct; 19(4):427-436
Despite California's dependence on hired farm labor, scarce research has been conducted on the respiratory health of hired farm workers. Agricultural exposures to inorganic and organic dusts can adversely affect an individual's respiratory health and differ by farm type and job task. The purpose of the present analysis was to examine associations between agricultural work exposures and pulmonary function among 450 California farm workers. Data were collected as part of the Mexican Immigration to California: Agricultural Safety and Acculturation (MICASA) study, a prospective cohort study examining occupational risk factors and health of hired farm worker families in Mendota, California. Time-weighted self-reported average (TWSRA) dust scores were calculated from assessments of past-12-month agricultural work history. Other dust exposure indicator variables included months worked in agriculture in the past 12 months and years worked in agriculture. Multiple linear regression modeled FEV1 (forced expiratory volume in 1 second), FEF25-75% (forced midexpiratory flow rate), FVC (forced vital capacity), FEV6, FEV1/FVC, and FEV1/FEV6 separately. Seventy-six percent of participants had worked in agriculture in the past year. In models conducted for crops and tasks separately, high TWSRA dust score was associated with better FEV6. Crop and task models showed associations between greater months worked in agriculture in the past year and better FEV1, FEF25-75%, and FEV6. Both models also found greater years worked in agriculture to be associated with worse FEV1/FEV6. Results were generally in the opposite direction as expected given past research but not uncommon. Future research should investigate relationships between pulmonary function and agricultural dust exposure over a lifetime and changes in pulmonary function over time.
Agricultural-industry; Agricultural-workers; Exposure-levels; Risk-factors; Particulates; Particulate-dust; Airborne-dusts; Airborne-particles; Pollutants; Humans; Men; Women; Health-hazards; Respiration; Respiratory-irritants; Pulmonary-function; Pulmonary-system; Pulmonary-system-disorders; Farmers; Organic-compounds; Organic-dusts; Inorganic-compounds; Demographic-characteristics; Sociological-factors; Racial-factors; Author Keywords: Agriculture; Hispanic Americans; respiratory function tests
Erik J. Rodriquez, PhD, MPH, Division of General Internal Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, 3333 California Street, Suite 335, Box 0856, San Francisco, CA 94118
Publication Date
Document Type
Journal Article
Email Address
Funding Type
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
Grant-Number-R01-OH-009293; M102014
Issue of Publication
Source Name
Journal of Agromedicine
Performing Organization
University of California - Davis
Page last reviewed: May 13, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division