The Intersection of Workplace and Environmental Exposure on Health in Latinx Farm Working Communities in Rural Inland Southern California

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2022 Oct 10;19(19):12940. doi: 10.3390/ijerph191912940.


Workplace and environmental exposures pose health risks for racial/ethnic minorities in rural agricultural communities, placing them at a disadvantage in accessing needed health care. Over three fourths (76%) of the 2.4 million farmworkers in the United States are immigrants, mostly from Mexico. However, little is known of the community health concerns and barriers to care of Latinx farmworkers in inland southern California. This qualitative study used a community-based participatory research approach, conducting nine in-home meetings to obtain meaningful community input on health concerns and barriers to access healthcare services among rural residents of the Eastern Coachella Valley, who are also located near the desert-bound Salton Sea of inland southern California. All interviews were audio-recorded and analyzed via listening to the audio recordings and summarizing data in templates and matrices. Participants discussed health concerns related to agricultural labor, including heat-related illness, musculoskeletal ailments and injuries, skin disorders, respiratory illness, and trauma. Participants raised concerns about environmental exposures related to agriculture and the nearby Salton Sea, a highly saline lakebed, and proposed solutions to improve the health of their communities. The findings from this study suggest farmworkers are aware of the health risks posed by living and working in rural farmlands but lack resources and information to act upon and advocate for improved public health.

Keywords: Latinx; Mexican; Salton Sea; farmworkers; foreign-born; immigrant.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • California
  • Environmental Exposure
  • Farms
  • Heat Stress Disorders*
  • Humans
  • Rural Population
  • United States
  • Workplace*

Grant support

This research was funded by an award from Research Program on Migration and Health/Programa de Investigación en Migración en Salud (PiMSA) to authors A.M.C. (principal investigator) and A.M.J.L (co-principal investigator).