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Testing a PHN environmental risk reduction intervention: Questionnaire data addressing occupational and environmental exposures in rural low-income families

Patricia Butterfield, PhD, RN, School of Nursing, Dept of Psychosocial and Community Health, University of Washington, Box 357263, Seattle, WA 98195, 206-543-4436, pbutter@u.washington.edu and Wade Hill, PhD, RN, College of Nursing, Montana State University, Sherrick Hall, Bozeman, MT 59717.

The Environmental Risk Reduction through Nursing Interventions and Education (ERRNIE) study involves the collection of household environmental risk data from low-income Montana families. Participating families completed three types of questionnaires. The household questionnaire included information regarding housing conditions and in-home hobby activities. The adult questionnaire included items addressing occupational activities that may influence children’s exposures. The child questionnaire focused on developmental traits (e.g., hand-to-mouth behavior) that influence children’s exposures. To date 25 households, including 39 children and 52 adults, have participated. Of the adult participants, 48.9% were employed full time, with the majority being employed in occupations associated with home construction (n=10), restaurant services (n=3), machining (n=2), tourism (e.g., fishing guide) (n=2), or other services (e.g., housekeeping, beautician). Fifty percent of adults had their jobs 24 months or less, and 25.6% did at least part of their primary job in their home or yard. Hobbies included arts and crafts (45.7%), furniture refinishing (21.3%), working with lead (i.e., automotive radiators or solder) (12.8%), and reloading ammunition (2.2%). Hobby activities that occurred outside the home, but in the yard included automotive repair (61.9%), wood-working (50.0%), gardening (33.3%), cleaning and aging wild game (31.8%), and metal work (4.8%). Thirty percent of families (30.4%) reported using a wood stove. Three parents reported that their children (7.7%) had pica, eating dirt, rocks, or sand. In regard to hand-to-mouth behavior, 28.2% of children sucked their thumb or fingers, 7.7% used a pacifier, 10.3% “teethed on a particular item constantly,” and 38.5% used a blanket. In regard to sleeping arrangements, 74.4% of children slept in their own room, 20.5% in their parent’s room, and 5.1% in the living room; 28.2% of children slept with at least one pet in their room. In regard to health conditions and health care utilization, twenty three percent of parents reported that they believed that their child had an illness caused by environmental problems (defined as caused by something in the water or air) during the previous year. These data provide preliminary insights into the constellation of exposures that potentially impact children’s environmental health.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Environmental Exposures, Public Health Nursing, Outcomes

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Economic Disparities

The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA