Study examines occupational risks for Latino day laborers

September 30, 2010

Construction work may be associated with higher blood-lead levels among Latino migrant workers, according to new research from the Center for Construction Research and Training in Silver Spring, MD.

The findings are from a pilot study (.pdf file) that evaluated the occupational experiences of nonagriculture migrant Latino workers in New Orleans. Researchers found use of personal protective equipment was low among participants. About half of participants reported being "somewhat" to "severely" affected by respiratory symptoms, which improved when they left work. The blood-lead levels of participants ranged from 0.6 to 38.4, and about half had levels known to be associated with adverse health effects such as headaches, high blood pressure and renal problems.

Researchers noted few studies exist on Latino workers in the construction and service industries, and recommended future work to compare their occupational experience to other groups of workers.

The Center for Construction Research and Training is affiliated with the Washington-based labor federation AFL-CIO.