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Improving Pregnancy Health Among Florida Farmworkers

Partnerships for Environmental Public Health (PEPH)

NIOSH Grant: R21OH009830

Community-Academic Partners
Emory University: Linda A. McCauley, R.N., Ph.D.
Farmworker Association of Florida: www.farmworkers.org/fwafpage.html 
Farmworker Health and Safety Institute:   www.cata-farmworkers.org/english%20pages/fhsi.htm 

Farm workers filling pots with soil

Agriculture consistently ranks as one of the three most hazardous occupations in the United States, and the agricultural workforce includes significant numbers of women of child-bearing age. In addition to potential exposures to agricultural chemicals, farmworkers also face ergonomic stressors like long hours of repetitive bending and standing, and exposure to extreme heat and dehydration. Each of these factors has the potential to impact the health of pregnant women and their unborn children, yet few studies have examined the specific risks to pregnant women in this environment.

The farmworker community has consistently expressed concern over the association between their work and the health of their children, leading researchers from Emory University to partner with the Farmworker Association of Florida and the Farmworker Health and Safety Institute to examine the potential work hazards and exposures inherent to farmwork that could affect the health of pregnant women.

The research partners will:

  • Examine perceptions of work hazards and pregnancy health among female farmworkers working in nursery and fernery operations in Florida.
  • Assess the extent of exposures to heat, ergonomic stressors, and agricultural chemicals that have the potential to impact pregnancy outcomes.
  • Use biomarkers of pesticide exposure to assess levels of pesticide exposure.

Both Hispanic and Haitian farmworker women of child-bearing age will be represented in the population of the study. The partners will use their findings to develop culturally and linguistically appropriate educational materials to provide the women with information they need about chemical, ergonomic, and heat-related hazards. The materials will emphasize health-promoting and protective behaviors during pregnancy, empowering the women to protect themselves and ultimately the health of their children.

An evaluation will determine whether this collaborative process reached the education and research objectives.

 

This partnership seeks to promote healthy, protective behaviors of female farmworkers during pregnancy.

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