Women of childbearing age and children living in rural agricultural regions are at-risk for pesticide exposure from a variety of pathways including occupational track-in, drift from farming activities, residential usage, and dietary intake. The purpose of this dissertation research is to answer the questions: "What do mothers perceive as pesticide exposure pathways for themselves and their children? How do these perceptions differ between cultural groups?" The study involves a secondary analysis of data collected during the summer of 2007 in the Red River Basin of the North from the University of Minnesota's Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships and the Division of Environmental Health Sciences. Sixteen women from three diverse groups participated: Caucasians enrolled in the Women Infant and Children federally subsidized nutrition program, new American immigrants, and Native Americans. Due to culture, economics, and geography, these groups may experience increased health risks from pesticide exposure. Photovoice was used as a qualitative methodology to document mothers' concerns about pesticide exposure and other health issues for their children, since it enables participants, including those who lack verbal acumen in the language of the dominant culture, to use photographs to address questions like, "Why does this situation exist? Do we want to change it, and, if so, how?" Caucasian and Native American mothers voiced concern about pesticide exposure from drift due to agricultural spraying on the ground and by plane. All participants wanted advanced notice to take precautionary measures before fogging or spraying. Perceptions of pesticide exposure differed according to the cultural lens of each group: Caucasian women saw the necessity of industrial agriculture and pesticide usage as a trade-off; Native American women voiced concerns about pesticide contamination to traditional foods; and new American immigrants expressed a need to learn how to read labels and use pesticides safely. Participants suggested culturally congruent strategies for the delivery of educational information. Consumption of locally grown organic foods was identified as one strategy to reduce pesticide exposure. This research assists public health professionals, extension educators, and primary care providers with the aim of reducing pesticide exposure to children living in rural agricultural regions.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. November 2008. Major: Environmental Health. Advisor: Patricia M. McGovern. 1 computer file (PDF); xii, 383 pages, appendices A-P.
Stedman-Smith, Margaret M..
Documenting perceptions about pesticides and other environmental exposures with photovoice : mothers' concerns for their children.
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