Heat Exposure in Central Florida Fernery Workers: Results of a Feasibility Study.

Research paper by Valerie V Vi Thien Mac, Jose Antonio JA Tovar-Aguilar, Joan J Flocks, Jeannie J Economos, Vicki V Hertzberg, Linda A LA McCauley

Indexed on: 25 Jan '17Published on: 25 Jan '17Published in: Journal of agromedicine


The objective of this study was to determine the feasibility of field-based biomonitoring of heat-related illness (HRI) phenomena in Florida farmworkers. We determined feasibility through participant interviews regarding acceptability, data capture, recruitment and retention, and observed barriers and challenges to implementation.Study participants were employed in fernery operations in northeast Central Florida where ornamental ferns are grown and harvested in a seasonally high heat environment. In this pilot, a total of 43 farmworkers participated during summers 2012 and 2013 and measurements included: body core temperature, heart rate, energy expenditure, urine and blood osmolality, and self-reported HRI symptoms.Data capture was 90%. Participants reported that the study methods were non-obtrusive to their work, and that they were comfortable with study measures.These results open possibilities for characterizing heat-related illness utilizing physiologic biomonitoring in vulnerable occupational groups.