Pesticides in the homes of farmworkers: Latino mothers' perceptions of risk to their children's health

Health Educ Behav. 2007 Apr;34(2):335-53. doi: 10.1177/1090198106288045. Epub 2006 May 31.


Pesticide exposure has been linked with immediate and delayed health effects. Anyone who lives in a farmworker household may be exposed to pesticides. Studies with farmworkers have found generally low levels of awareness of pesticide exposure and prevention. Less is known about the perceptions of nonfarmworkers living with farmworkers. This article presents the results of 41 in-depth interviews conducted with Latino women in farmworker households regarding their knowledge of pesticides and perceptions of risk to their children's health. Their perceptions and behavior differ from scientific understanding and policy recommendations for exposure management, resulting in behaviors that may increase children's risk of exposure and subsequent health problems. Because the level at which exposure becomes harmful remains a subject of scientific debate, the wisest course of action is to minimize exposure (the precautionary principle). Families living in farmworker households would benefit from health education programs that target their specific needs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Agriculture*
  • Attitude
  • Child
  • Child Welfare*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Environmental Exposure*
  • Female
  • Hispanic or Latino
  • Housing*
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mothers / psychology*
  • North Carolina
  • Pesticides*
  • Risk Assessment


  • Pesticides