Pesticide Take-Home Pathway among Children of Agricultural Workers: Study Design, Methods, and Baseline Findings

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Farmworkers are exposed to pesticides and may take home pesticide residues to their families. In this paper, self-reported pesticide exposure and home practices to reduce the amount of pesticide residues taken home were examined among 571 farmworkers. Urine samples from a subsample of farmworkers and children and dust samples from households and vehicles also assessed pesticide exposure. Overall, 96% of respondents reported exposure to pesticides at work. Many employers did not provide resources for hand washing. Farmworkers’ protective practices to keep pesticide residues out of the home were at a low level. In a subset of respondents, pesticide levels above the limit of quantitation were seen in the urine of children and adults and in house and vehicle dust. The results support the take-home pathway of pesticide exposure. Ways must be found to reduce this pesticide exposure among children of farmworkers.

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