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Respirator Use Among US Farm Operators With Asthma: Results From the 2011 Farm and Ranch Safety Survey
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    J Agromedicine. 22(2):78-88.
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  • Alternative Title:
    J Agromedicine
  • Description:
    Objective The purpose of this study was to estimate the national prevalence of respirator use among farm operators with farm work–related asthma and factors associated with respirator use. Methods The authors examined the 2011 Farm and Ranch Safety Survey, a national survey collected from 11,210 actively farming farm operators in the United States. Adjusted prevalence ratios (aPORs) of respirator use were calculated by demographic characteristics, farm characteristics, asthma characteristics, and selected exposures and hazards. Results Among the estimated 2.2 million farm operators in 2011, 35.7% reported using a respirator in the past 12 months. Respirator use was significantly (P <.05) associated with age, marital status, sex, smoking status, farm value of sales, farm type, farm acreage, and geographic region. Operators who work with pesticides were 3.5 times more likely to use respirator than those who did not work with pesticides (P < .0001). Among those with current asthma, 60.8% of operators with farm work–related asthma used respirators compared with 44.4% of operators with non–farm work–related asthma (P = .03). Farm operators with farm work–related asthma who had an asthma attack at work were 11.3 times more likely to report respirator use than those who did not have an asthma attack at work (P = .03). Conclusions Personal protective equipment, including respirators, is an approach to reducing respiratory exposures in agricultural settings, in particular among those with farm work–related asthma. Education for respirator use and evaluation for respirator tolerance should be considered.
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