13 Apr 2021
International journal of environmental research and public health;
The agricultural crop sector in the United States depends on migrant, seasonal, and immigrant farmworkers. As an ethnic minority group in the U.S. with little access to health care and a high level of poverty, farmworkers face a combination of adverse living and workplace conditions, such as exposure to high levels of air pollution, that can place them at a higher risk for adverse health outcomes including respiratory infections. This narrative review summarizes peer-reviewed original epidemiology research articles (2000-2020) focused on respirable dust exposures in the workplace and respiratory illnesses among farmworkers. We found studies (
= 12) that assessed both air pollution and respiratory illnesses in farmworkers. Results showed that various air pollutants and respiratory illnesses have been assessed using appropriate methods (e.g., personal filter samplers and spirometry) and a consistent pattern of increased respiratory illness in relation to agricultural dust exposure. There were several gaps in the literature; most notably, no study coupled occupational air exposure and respiratory infection among migrant, seasonal and immigrant farmworkers in the United States. This review provides an important update to the literature regarding recent epidemiological findings on the links between occupational air pollution exposures and respiratory health among vulnerable farmworker populations.