Agriculture consistently ranks as one of the three most hazardous occupations in the United States, yet few studies have been conducted that examine the specific risks to pregnant women in the workforce. Exposure to agricultural chemicals is a major occupational and reproductive hazard and other factors such as long periods of standing, exposure to heat and dehydration also have the potential to impact the health of pregnant women and their unborn children. In this exploratory study investigators from Emory University, and the University of Florida will partner with the Farmworker Association of Florida and the Farmworker Health and Safety Institute to examine how female farmworkers assess the risks of certain environmental and occupational hazards to pregnancy. This partnership brings together experts in community-based participatory research and methods of education and organizing among farmworkers. The study team has extensive scientific expertise in occupational exposures and clinical backgrounds in maternal health. We will examine current perceptions of work hazards and pregnancy health among female farmworkers working in nursery and fernery operations in Florida and conduct a large community survey of the extent of exposures to heat, ergonomic and chemical exposures that have the potential to impact pregnancy outcomes among farmworker women. We will assess biomarkers of pesticide exposure in a subsample of our female population. Culturally and linguistically- appropriate educational materials emphasizing health promoting and protective behaviors during pregnancy for female farmworkers will be developed and lessons learned, study results and educational materials will be disseminated to farmworkers and the health and scientific community through farmworker community public forums, peer reviewed journal articles, presentations at professional conferences and, and web-based publications.

Public Health Relevance

In this exploratory study investigators from Emory University, and the University of Florida will partner with the Farmworker Association of Florida and the Farmworker Health and Safety Institute to examine how female farmworkers assess the risks of certain environmental and occupational hazards to pregnancy.

Agency
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Institute
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)
Type
Exploratory/Developmental Grants (R21)
Project #
5R21OH009830-04
Application #
8287480
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZES1-SET-V (01))
Program Officer
Childress, Adele M
Project Start
2009-09-01
Project End
2013-12-31
Budget Start
2012-09-01
Budget End
2013-12-31
Support Year
4
Fiscal Year
2012
Total Cost
$296,629
Indirect Cost
$53,561
Name
Emory University
Department
None
Type
Schools of Nursing
DUNS #
066469933
City
Atlanta
State
GA
Country
United States
Zip Code
30322
Runkle, Jennifer; Flocks, Joan; Economos, Jeannie et al. (2014) Occupational risks and pregnancy and infant health outcomes in Florida farmworkers. Int J Environ Res Public Health 11:7820-40
Flocks, Joan; Vi Thien Mac, Valerie; Runkle, Jennifer et al. (2013) Female farmworkers' perceptions of heat-related illness and pregnancy health. J Agromedicine 18:350-8
Runkle, Jennifer D; Tovar-Aguilar, J Antonio; Economos, Eugenia et al. (2013) Pesticide risk perception and biomarkers of exposure in Florida female farmworkers. J Occup Environ Med 55:1286-92