Background: Latinos represent a growing demographic in the U.S., however, they are often overrepresented in lower-paying, higher risk jobs, placing them at an increased risk for work-related illnesses, including respiratory-related outcomes. Additional efforts are needed to identify environmental exposures of concern to inform future epidemiologic studies and interventions, as Latinos are an underrepresented population in environmental and occupational health research.
Goal: The goal of our project was to identify environmental and occupational exposures that may contribute to adverse health outcomes.
Objectives: We sought to examine the association between self-reported respiratory and allergic symptoms and exposure to 16 different products used at work and personal behaviors, including personal care product use.
Approach: Data was obtained from an ongoing study whose aim is to assess the health needs and to identify risk factors potentially linked to chronic diseases among Latino immigrant adults in Prince Georges County, MD. We administered a comprehensive questionnaire, which queried participants on demographic information, environmental exposures at the workplace and home environment, and we also collected biospecimens (i.e., urine, nasal swabs).
Results: Our population consisted of 156 adults most of which were female (87%) and Central American natives (81%). The mean age of participants was 51 years. Preliminary bivariate analyses indicate that using whiteboard cleaner is positively associated with reporting wheeze (p=0.02) and rashes (p=0.03) in the prior year; perfume use was moderately associated with wheeze in the prior year (p=0.06). Additional data and biospecimen analysis is underway.
Importance to public health: Study findings may inform intervention programs designed to reduce respiratory and allergic symptoms and improve overall health in Latino adults.