The agricultural industry has some of the highest incidence rates and numbers of occupational injuries and illnesses in the United States. Injuries and illnesses in agriculture result from accidents, falls, excessive heat, repetitive motion and adverse pesticide exposure. Women working in agriculture are exposed to the same hazards and risks as their male counterparts, but can face additional adverse impacts on their reproductive health. Yet, few occupational risk assessment studies have considered the reproductive health of female farmworkers. The objective of this community-based participatory research study was to conduct a retrospective, cross-sectional survey to collect information on workplace conditions and behaviors and maternal, pregnancy and infant health outcomes among a sample of female nursery and fernery farmworkers in Central Florida. Survey results showed that nursery workers were more likely to report health symptoms during their pregnancy than fernery workers. We also observed a self-reported increased risk of respiratory illness in the first year of life for infants whose mothers worked in ferneries. Our findings confirm that agricultural work presents potential reproductive hazards for women of childbearing age.
Jennifer Runkle, Joan Flocks, Jeannie Economos, J. Antonio Tovar-Aguilar & Linda McCauley, Occupational Risks and Pregnancy and Infant Health Outcomes in Florida Farmworkers, 11 Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 7820 (2014), available at http://scholarship.law.ufl.edu/facultypub/638