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Your Environment. Your Health.

University of California Berkeley

Reducing Pesticide Exposure in Farmworker Children

Brenda Eskenazi, Ph.D.

Project Description:


Farmworker children are exposed to higher levels of pesticides than other children, because of their proximity to pesticide applications on nearby fields and because of the take-home exposures of their parents. The project is developing sustainable interventions aimed at primary prevention, i.e., to reduce pesticide exposure to farmworker children. Based on an initial needs and assets assessment, focus groups, and preliminary data collected for the CHAMACOS study, the investigators are focusing intervention on the reduction of take-home pesticide exposure of farmworkers; thereby, reducing exposures to children in their home. Thirty to forty work crews containing approximately 180 eligible households located in the Salinas Valley were randomly allocated to one of three intervention groups: Level 1, no intervention; Level II, educational component using Environmental Health Promoters; and Level III, personal protective clothing, and hand washing with warm water. Planning and development are being conducted in the first year. In the second year, Level II and III receive the respective interventions over one growing season from April to October. A reduction in the measurement of pesticides in house dust and of pesticide metabolites in the urine of the children and workers as well as an increase in knowledge, attitude, and behavior about protections from pesticide exposure from baseline to 6 months later will indicate the efficacy of the interventions. A maintained reduction in knowledge attitude and behavior in the following season after the termination of the trial will indicate a sustained effect of the intervention. Lastly, the control group (Level I) receive the most successful component in year 3. In year 4, the investigators develop a manual to enable this and other agricultural communities to replicate the project, and in year 5, they work with local and State authorities, and advocacy and community groups in the community to incorporate the findings into their policies and education programs.


  • California Rural Legal Assistance
  • Clinica de Salud del Valle de Salinas
  • Grower Shipper Association

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