Earlier this year, WCAHS accepted proposals for short-term projects that address research, outreach, or educational issues of agricultural health and safety in Arizona, California, Hawaii, and/or Nevada. Twelve competitive proposals were received and the following five projects were funded.
Food Security and Nutritional Status among Agricultural Workers in the California Central Valley: Pilot Study
Reina Engle-Stone, PhD, and Leslie Olivares, UC Davis
Agricultural workers in California’s Central Valley experience poverty and food insecurity and are thus at risk for multiple forms of malnutrition, including nutrient deficiencies and overweight and obesity. This project will assess the prevalence of anemia and iron deficiency, and relationships with food insecurity, overweight/obesity, and subclinical inflammation among agricultural workers in the Central Valley via anthropometric measurements, collection and analysis of blood samples, and interviews to assess food insecurity and household characteristics. Results will inform future research and interventions to improve nutritional status in this population.
Preliminary Assessment of Risk of Exposure to Aflatoxin of Workers of the Almond Industry
Jesus Fernandez Bayo, UC Davis
Aflatoxins are naturally occurring chemicals produced by molds that can increase the risk of developing liver cancer. They are found on agricultural crops such as maize (corn), peanuts, cottonseed, and tree nuts. Workers may be exposed by inhaling dust generated during the handling and processing of contaminated soils, crops, and feeds. Aflatoxins are heavily monitored in foods but rarely in occupational settings. The objective of this study will be to identify potential environmental sources (soil, almond biomass, and personal protection equipment) where workers may have higher risk of exposure to aflatoxin.
Knights Landing Environmental Health Project
Skye Kelty, PhD student, UC Davis
Knights Landing is an unincorporated town in Yolo County surrounded by agriculture with >70% of residents employed in agriculture. The Knights Landing Environmental Health Project is a 3-year old student- and community-led research project that has included community-based participatory research led by students and community members and a mixed-methods study of pesticide exposures in the Knights Landing community. This funding will support the completion of the project and subsequent publication of the research and dissemination of results and materials to other agricultural communities.
Forces Required to Operate Controls on Agricultural All-Terrain Vehicles: Implications for Young Operators
Farzaneh Khorsandi, PhD, UC Davis
All-terrain vehicle (ATV) crashes are one of the leading causes of injury and death among youth in the agriculture industry. This project will measure the physical factors that may put youth at risk of injury or death while operating utility ATVs on farms. In this study, the forces required to operate controls on agricultural ATVs will be evaluated, other physical factors will be measured in the future studies. This study will contribute to the scientific bases for developing regulatory and advisory guidelines for operating agricultural ATVs and will provide suggestions for interventions with the goal of reducing the ATV-related injuries and fatalities, especially among children and adolescents.
Exploring Heat Exposure and Kidney Functioning in Migrant Farm Workers in the Arizona-Sonora Border Region
Nicolas Lopez-Galvez and Rietta Wagoner, PhD students, University of Arizona
Chronic kidney disease of undetermined cause is an epidemic that is disproportionately affecting young laborers in warm regions throughout the world. However, no studies have evaluated kidney functioning in migrant farmworkers in the Arizona-Sonora border region. This study will evaluate environmental and occupational factors that influence kidney function in Southern Arizona and assess kidney function in migrant farmworkers via urinalysis and questionnaires regarding demographics, employment, and lifestyle. The objective of this study is to gain a better understanding of the association between occupational risk factors and kidney functioning in migrant farmworkers in the US-Mexico border region.