Pesticide Risk Perception and Biomarkers of Exposure in Florida Female Farmworkers

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Abstract

Objective:

To compare workplace characteristics, workplace behaviors, and the health beliefs of female farmworkers of childbearing age with actual biomarkers of exposure to organophosphate pesticides and to the fungicide mancozeb.

Methods:

Hispanic and Haitian farmworkers between the ages of 18 and 40 years working in nursery or fernery operations were recruited to participate in a cross-sectional survey, examining demographics, work practices, work-related hygiene, and pesticide exposure beliefs. Single-void (spot) urine samples were analyzed for organophosphate and ethylenethiourea metabolites.

Results:

Women in nurseries worried less frequently about the effects of pesticides on their health than those in fernery operations. In summary, organophosphate and ethylenethiourea levels in nursery workers were significantly higher than levels in fernery workers and the control group.

Conclusions:

Results showed that perceived pesticide exposure did not correspond to actual metabolite levels within differing agricultural subpopulations.

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