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Farmworker Pesticide Exposure and Community-Based Participatory Research: Rationale and Practical Applications

Thomas A. Arcury, Sara A. Quandt and Allen Dearry
Environmental Health Perspectives
Vol. 109, Supplement 3 (Jun., 2001), pp. 429-434
DOI: 10.2307/3434791
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3434791
Page Count: 6
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Farmworker Pesticide Exposure and Community-Based Participatory Research: Rationale and Practical Applications
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Abstract

The consequences of agricultural pesticide exposure continue to be major environmental health problems in rural communities. Community-based participatory research (CBPR) is an important approach to redressing health disparities resulting from environmental causes. In this article we introduce a collection of articles that describe projects using CBPR to address the health disparities resulting from pesticide exposure in agricultural communities, particularly the communities of migrant and seasonal farmworkers. The articles in this collection are based on a workshop convened at the 1999 American Public Health Association meeting. The goals in presenting this collection are to provide those endeavoring to initiate CBPR projects needed information, guidelines, and procedures to improve the quality of the CBPR experience; to increase the scientific validity of CBPR projects; and to reduce the potential difficulties and stress of these collaborations. In this introduction we discuss the context in which these projects operate, summarizing background information about farmworkers in the United States, what is known about farmworker pesticide exposure, and the concept of community-based participatory research. Finally, the articles in this collection are summarized, and major themes common to successful CBPR projects are identified. These common features are taking the time to interact with the community, using multiple approaches to engage the different parts of the community, understanding different participants often have different goals, appreciating each group's strengths, valuing community knowledge, and being flexible and creative in conducting research. The final article in this collection describes the translational research program at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) highlighting activities pertinent to the health of rural communities, giving an overview of NIEHS-supported projects addressing health concerns of Native Americans and rural African-American communities in addition to farmworkers, and discussing future plans for CBPR at NIEHS.

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