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Hispanic Farmworkers at High Risk for Skin Disease

Posted: May 15, 2006
Skin disease affects more than three out of four Hispanic farmworkers in North Carolina, researchers say, highlighting the need for those workers to get more information on preventing skin ailments, including skin cancer.

A team at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C., conducted two studies including a total of 89 farmworkers.

They found that "farmworkers are particularly vulnerable to diseases of the skin and have the highest incidence of skin disorders of any industry," lead researcher Thomas Arcury, professor of family medicine, said in a prepared statement. "These workers represent a medically underserved population that is at risk for both environmental and occupational health problems, as well as health problems associated with poverty," he said.

The findings appear in the May issue of the Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health and in the April issue of the American Journal of Industrial Medicine.

The first study included five female farmworkers and 54 male workers. All five females and 78 percent of the males had some form of skin disease. Among males, the most common conditions were nail fungus, foot fungus and acne, while excessively dry skin, foot fungus and acne were among the conditions diagnosed in the females.