Pesticide Exposures and Risk Perceptions among Male and Female Latinx Farmers in Idaho

Previous studies have documented high levels of pesticide exposure among Latinx farmworkers. However, most research has focused almost exclusively on men, despite women representing an increasing proportion of the agricultural workforce. Some studies have indicated that women farmworkers experience Acute Pesticide Poisonings (APPs) at significantly higher rates than their male counterparts. 

Project Overview 

Our goal was to examine pesticide exposure and perceptions of pesticide risk, to assess determinants of pesticide exposure among men and women Latinx farmworkers in Idaho. We used a combination of urinary biomonitoring for common insecticides and herbicides, questionnaires, and open-ended qualitative interviews. We recruited 62 participants through partnerships with trusted community organizations during the pesticide spray season from April-July 2022. We conducted a second visit with 57 of those participants. 

Results to Date 

Note that these are preliminary results, that assessments of health risks and recommendations are in-development.  
For all participants (30 men and 32 women): 

  • The most common crops included wheat, corn, onions, alfalfa, and carrots. 
  • Participants who worked with wheat had higher concentrations of 2,4D and Dicamba (herbicides) and MDA, representing the insecticide malathion. 
  • Those who didn’t wear gloves while working had higher concentrations of 2,4D (herbicide) and TCPy, representing the insecticide chlorpyrifos. 
  • With the COVID-19 pandemic, some farmworkers started washing their hands with hand sanitizer instead of soap and water, which is less likely to remove pesticides.  
  • The majority correctly believed washing hands, wearing protective equipment, changing clothes, and showering reduced their exposure to pesticides. 
  • More than 60% felt their health is harmed by pesticides, and more than 80% said that they think other farmworkers’ health is harmed by pesticides. Women were slightly more likely to report that their and others’ health may be harmed. 

For pesticide applicators (10 men, 2 women): 

  • 50% of applicators reported wearing a respirator “rarely” or “sometimes” while applying pesticides.  
  • Reasons PPE was not worn include: that participants felt the pesticides they use are not dangerous, because it was not provided by their employer, or because it was too hot or uncomfortable. 

Next Steps 

We are currently conducting data analysis to examine predictors of pesticide exposure, including differences by gender, and preparing manuscripts for publication. We are working with PNASH and other science translation teams to interpret these results and disseminate our findings to participants and community partners. 


Report Pesticide Exposures and Risk Perceptions among Male and Female Latinx Farmworkers in Idaho.

Principal Investigator: Carly Hyland, PhD, Postdoctoral Scholar, Boise State University 


Hyland C, Ruiz I, Meierotto L, Som Castellano R, Curl C. Forging Community Partnerships to Examine Pesticide Exposure and Risk Perceptions among Latinx Farmworkers. Poster Preparation Abstract, PISEE Conference, 2022 Sep 21; 2022(1).

Hyland C, Hernandez A, Gaudreau É, Larose J, Bienvenu J-F, Meierotto L, Som Castellano RL, Curl CL. Examination of urinary pesticide concentrations, protective behaviors, and risk perceptions among Latino and Latina farmworkers in Southwestern Idaho. International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health, 2024 Jan:255:114275. Epub 2023 Oct 20. DOI: 10.1016/j.ijheh.2023.114275. PMID: 37866282. 

PNASH Pilot Project 2021-2022