Mothers’ Concerns about Children’s Exposure to Pesticide Drift in the Red River Basin of the North: A Novel Application of Photovoice


Women of childbearing age and children living in agricultural regions are at-risk for pesticide exposure from many pathways, including occupational track-in from parents, residential use, dietary intake, and drift from farming. Little is known about mothers’ concerns regarding the potential for their children to become exposed to pesticides in these regions. Photovoice was used as a community needs assessment to learn mothers’ perceptions of exposure pathways to pesticides and other environmental health concerns. This article reports the perceptions of women raising children regarding children’s potential for exposure to pesticide drift. Recruitment occurred among three distinct groups living in the Red River Basin of the North: Caucasians living adjacent to actively treated farmland, enrolled in the Women, Infant and Children’s nutrition program (WIC); Native Americans surrounded by active farmland, affiliated with a local tribal college; and new American Immigrants from East Africa affiliated with a local immigrant development center. Perceived sources of exposure included agricultural-aerial and tractor spraying, and truck fogging for mosquito control. Mothers wanted advanced notice of spraying or fogging so they could take their children and toys indoors as protective measures, and education to prevent pesticide exposure, delivered in tailored formats for each group. The findings provide real-world insights from mothers and prevention strategies that can be utilized by public health professionals, extension educators, and primary care providers with the aim of reducing pesticide exposure to children in agricultural regions.

Keywords: Children; Pesticide exposure; Pesticide drift; Arial spray; Photovoice

Contents soley the authors' responsibitlity and do not represent the official views of any funding source.

Acknowledgement: We than the following members for their contributions to this Photovoice study: Fowzia Adde, Kirstin Eggerling, Abby Gold, Stephanie Williams, Ruth Rasmussen and Kathy Smith.

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