Work characteristics and pesticide exposures among migrant agricultural families: a community-based research approach

Environ Health Perspect. 2001 May;109(5):533-8. doi: 10.1289/ehp.01109533.


There are few data on pesticide exposures of migrant Latino farmworker children, and access to this vulnerable population is often difficult. In this paper we describe a community-based approach to implement culturally appropriate research methods with a migrant Latino farmworker community in Oregon. Assessments were conducted in 96 farmworker homes and 24 grower homes in two agricultural communities in Oregon. Measurements included surveys of pesticide use and work protection practices and analyses of home-dust samples for pesticide residues of major organophosphates used in area crops. Results indicate that migrant farmworker housing is diverse, and the amounts and types of pesticide residues found in homes differ. Azinphos-methyl (AZM) was the pesticide residue found most often in both farmworker and grower homes. The median level of AZM in farmworker homes was 1.45 ppm compared to 1.64 ppm in the entry area of grower homes. The median level of AZM in the play areas of grower homes was 0.71 ppm. The levels of AZM in migrant farmworker homes were most associated with the distance from fields and the number of agricultural workers in the home. Although the levels of AZM in growers and farmworker homes were comparable in certain areas, potential for disproportionate exposures occur in areas of the homes where children are most likely to play. The relationship between home resident density, levels of pesticide residues, and play behaviors of children merit further attention.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Agriculture*
  • Azinphosmethyl / analysis*
  • Child
  • Environmental Monitoring / methods
  • Female
  • Hispanic or Latino
  • Housing
  • Humans
  • Insecticides / analysis*
  • Male
  • Occupational Exposure / analysis*
  • Oregon
  • Pesticide Residues / analysis*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Transients and Migrants*


  • Insecticides
  • Pesticide Residues
  • Azinphosmethyl