Online Program

Association of skin rashes with work environment and personal behaviors in female farmworkers

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Kristina L Campbell, BSN, RN, Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, Emory University, Atlanta, GA
Valerie Mac, RN, PhD, Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, Emory University, Atlanta, GA
Antonio Tovar, PhD, Florida Prevention Research Center, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL
Eugenia Economos, Farmworker Association of Florida, Apopka, FL
Brenda Baker, PhD, RN, Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, Emory University, Atlanta, GA
Linda A. McCauley, RN, PhD, FAAN, FAAOHN, School of Nursing, Emory University, Atlanta, GA
Background: Skin rashes are common among farmworkers due to the significant cutaneous contact with crop-associated materials, including pesticides. Exposure varies by type, chemicals applied, dosage/method of application, and practices such as hand washing, personal protective equipment, and personal hygiene. The objective of this study was to assess self-reported personal behaviors and the frequency and location of skin rashes among female nursery and fernery workers in central Florida.

Methods: A cross-sectional study comparing female nursery and fernery workers with significant cutaneous contact to crops was conducted using interviews and a skin assessment tool. Community health workers assisted farmworkers in using body diagrams to document skin rashes.

Results: 83 female farmworkers between the ages of 20-40 completed skin assessments; 18 nursery workers and 65 fernery workers. Nursery workers reported 5.7 average years working in agricultural and fernery workers 10.5 years. Similar distributions of body area covered in rash were found for fernery (20%) and nursery workers (16.8%). The most common sites of rash varied based on exposed skin; rash was most common on forearms (62%), hands (56%), and anterior chest or neck (23%). Areas of non-exposed skin demonstrated rash less than 20% of the time.

Conclusions: These findings provide further evidence of the frequency of skin rash among farmworkers. Areas of the body in direct or close contact with crops were more likely to have rash than areas not in direct contact with crops. Further research is needed to better understand the development of skin rashes among farmworkers and effective prevention strategies.

Learning Areas:

Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Environmental health sciences
Occupational health and safety
Public health or related nursing
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Compare self-reported personal behaviors between a sample of female nursery and fernery workers in central Florida. Analyze frequency and location of skin rashes using skin assessment tool.

Keyword(s): Occupational Health and Safety, Chemical Exposures & Prevention

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I conducted the data analysis on this project.
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.