Immigrants Agriculture, forestry and fishing Workplace exposures

Pesticide exposure mainly affects agriculture workers: study


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Cincinnati – Rates of occupational injury and illness from pesticides are much higher among agricultural workers than workers in other industries, according to NIOSH research.

Researchers examined 2,014 cases of acute occupational illnesses or injuries related to pesticides in the Sentinel Event Notification System for Occupational Risk Pesticides program from 2007 to 2010 in 11 states. Agricultural workers had rates 37 times higher than other workers.

The data is likely an underestimate of the magnitude of illnesses and injuries for various reasons, the report states. Many cases are unreported because people do not pursue care or alert authorities; some patients might receive an incorrect diagnosis; and many cases are not logged in state surveillance programs. Additionally, many transient workers are difficult to track, and undocumented immigrant workers sometimes withhold communication from the government. One death was recorded. Most affected workers were exposed to insecticides and herbicides.

The research was published in the Oct. 23 issue of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.