250069 Compliance with housing regulations for migrant farmworkers in North Carolina

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Thomas A. Arcury, PhD , Department of Family and Community Medicine, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC
Maria Weir, MPH , Department of Family and Community Medicine, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC
Werner Bischoff, MD, MS, PhD , Department of Internal Medicine, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC
Maria C. Mirabelli, PhD , Division of Public Health Sciences, Wake Forest University SChool of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC
Haiying Chen, PHD , Wake Forest University Health Sciences, Department of Biostatistical Sciences, Winston-Salem, NC
Sara A. Quandt, PhD , Division of Public Health Sciences, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC
Objectives: Although federal and state regulations prescribe the standards for migrant farmworker housing, little systematic research has documented the actual quality of this housing. The few studies that have attempted to document farmworker housing conditions universally decry its abysmal state. This analysis reports the results of a large, systematic study of housing regulation violations among migrant farmworker camps in North Carolina.

Methods: Interview, inspection, and environmental sample data were collected in randomly selected farmworker camps in east-central North Carolina. Measures were constructed based on current migrant farmworker housing act regulations. The occurrence of violations for kitchens, bathrooms, laundry facilities, sleeping areas, and the general camp were identified.

Results: Data were collected in 185 camps across 16 counties. Data collectors were refused access to 44 camps (19.2%), often by the growers. Substantial violations to the Migrant Housing Act were present in all of the camps. For example, the drinking water in 62 (34.1%) camps was in violation due to presence of coliform and e. coli bacteria. Kitchens in 112 (66.7%) camps were in violation due to high refrigerator temperatures, and 83 (28.9%) camps were in violation due to cockroach infestation. Bathrooms in 178 (96.7%) camps were in violation due to lack of cleanliness, and in 46 (25.1%) camps, due to rodent infestation.

Conclusion: Housing in North Carolina migrant farmworker camps have multiple violations to the Migrant Housing Act. These violations increase the risks of farmworkers for disease. Migrant farmworker housing regulations, although minimal, are not being enforced adequately.

Learning Areas:
Epidemiology
Occupational health and safety
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines

Learning Objectives:
At the end of this presentation, participants will be able to Describe the prevalence of housing violations in migrant farmworker housing, and Discuss the implications of housing violations for farmworker health

Keywords: Occupational Exposure, Health Disparities

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Thomas A. Arcury, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and public health scientist with a research program focused on improving the occupational health of rural and minority populations. He has conducted qualitative and quantitative research on the occupational health of Latino immigrant workers, including farmworkers, poultry processing workers, and construction workers, and participated in the development of occupational safety training programs based on this research.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.