A longitudinal assessment of occupation, respiratory symptoms, and blood lead levels among latino day laborers in a non-agricultural setting

Am J Ind Med. 2011 May;54(5):366-74. doi: 10.1002/ajim.20919. Epub 2010 Oct 28.


Background: The reliance on Latino migrant day labor in the U.S. is increasing. Prospective data on day laborers' work and health experience in non-agriculture settings are lacking and outcomes are generally restricted to injury rates.

Methods: An ambidirectional study was conducted to quantify the number of job and job task changes held over 12 months in a cohort of 73 migrant day laborers and assessed the relation between work type, health symptoms, and blood lead level.

Results: On average, participants worked 2.4 different jobs over the past year averaging 41.5 hr per week. Construction work was associated with a twofold increase in sino-nasal and respiratory symptoms in both adjusted and unadjusted models and was associated with increased blood lead levels.

Conclusions: Despite day labor status, workers had relatively stable employment. Respiratory symptoms were common and often improved when away from work suggesting that workplace irritant exposure is likely. Migrant day laborers working construction are vulnerable to adverse health effects associated with irritant and lead exposure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Construction Materials / adverse effects*
  • Construction Materials / statistics & numerical data
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Hispanic or Latino*
  • Humans
  • Lead / blood*
  • Lead Poisoning / epidemiology
  • Lead Poisoning / etiology
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • New Orleans / epidemiology
  • Occupational Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Occupational Diseases / etiology
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Occupational Health
  • Odds Ratio
  • Respiratory Tract Diseases / blood
  • Respiratory Tract Diseases / epidemiology
  • Respiratory Tract Diseases / etiology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Transients and Migrants / statistics & numerical data*
  • United States
  • Workplace
  • Young Adult


  • Lead