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J Agromedicine. 2012;17(2):186-96. doi: 10.1080/1059924X.2012.658010.

Unique agricultural safety and health issues of migrant and immigrant children.

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Child and Migrant Health, Bioethics Migrant Clinicians Network, Ferndale, Washington, USA.


Immigrant and migrant youth who live and work in agricultural settings experience unique agricultural safety and health issues. Mobility, poverty, cultural differences, immigration status, language, education, housing, food security, regulatory standards and enforcement, and access to childcare and health care influence exposure risk and the well-being of this population. Approximately 10% of the migrant agricultural labor force is composed of unaccompanied minors, whose safety and health is further compounded by lack of social supports and additional stresses associated with economic independence. This paper examines the current demographic and health data, regulatory protections, and programs and practices addressing safety and health in this sector of youth in agriculture. Gaps in knowledge and practice are identified, with emphasis on data collection and regulatory limitations. Best practices in programs addressing the special needs of this population are highlighted. Recommendations identify seven priority areas for impact to promote transformative change in the agricultural health and safety concerns of unaccompanied minors and children of immigrant, migrant and seasonal farmworkers. This framework may be used to examine similar needs in other identified subpopulations of children as they merit attention, whether now or in the future.

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