Although several reviews have addressed the association of cancer and pesticide exposure among farmers and permanent farm help (Council on Scientific Affairs, 1988; Zahm and Blair, 1993; Zahm et al., 1997), few population-based studies have been published about the effects of pesticides and virtually none have focused on young workers. In California, three projects—a case study of a childhood cancer cluster (California Department of Health Services, 1988), a hospital record-based study of birth defects (Schwartz and LoGerfo, 1988), and a health survey (Mines and Kearney, 1982)—examined some of the effects. The investigations suggest that chronic health problems increase as a result of exposure to pesticides, but the studies have been limited in size and scope, and no clear conclusions have been reached regarding the magnitude of pesticide-related effects, particularly for children.
A lack of clean drinking water, hand-washing facilities, and toilets presents another hazard to agricultural workers. This lack of sanitary facilities contributes to a spread of parasites. Rates of parasitic infections among migrant farmworkers have been found to be much higher than rates among the general population (Occupational Safety and Health Administration, 1987). A lack of water to wash and an absence of toilets in the field may result in infections, dermatitis, parasites, urinary tract infections, respiratory illnesses, eye disease, and other illnesses (Occupational Safety and Health Administration, 1987).
Fatigue has been associated with increased risk of injury on the job (M. Miller, 1995; Rosa, 1995). Children's work in agriculture may include assisting with daily chores (such as milking cows) or