Region of birth, sex, and agricultural work of immigrant latino farm workers: The MICASA study

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4 Scopus citations


Agricultural work is hazardous, and immigrant workers perform the majority of production tasks, yet there are few data describing agricultural work and use of protective measures by demographic characteristics. We examined cross-sectionally the influence of region of birth (Mexico vs. Central America) and sex on agricultural work and use of protective measures in the MICASA cohort of immigrant Latino farm workers in Mendota, California. Of 445 participants, 293 (65.8%) were born in Mexico (163 men, 130 women) and 152 (34.2%) were born in Central America (80 men, 72 women). Men worked on average 74.4 more days than women (95% CI 62.0, 86.9) and were more likely to perform tasks requiring high levels of training or strength, such as machine operation, pruning, picking, planting, and irrigation; more likely to work in dusty conditions; and more likely to work directly with pesticides. Women predominated in packing. Respondents from Mexico were more likely to work with tomatoes and less likely to work with melon and lettuce. Central America-born respondents were less likely to engage in planting, irrigation, and pesticide use. Use of task-appropriate personal protective measures on at least a half-time basis was rare, with the exception of persons working with pesticides (a group limited to men) and for facial scarves among Central American women. Further work should focus on identifying barriers to use of preventive measures and programs to further their use. Educational models accounting for cultural factors and driving social norm change, employer engagement, and use of community health workers (promotores) may be helpful in promoting use of preventive measures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)79-90
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Agricultural Safety and Health
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2014


  • Agricultural injury
  • Immigrant latino farm workers
  • Personal protective measures

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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