Environmental Health Needs of Latinas in Cleaning Professions: A Mixed-Methods Approach

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About Health Insights. 19 May 2022;16:11786302221100045. doi: 10.1177/11786302221100045. eCollection 2022.

ABSTRACT

In the United States, about half of maids and housekeepers are Latino or Hispanic, while the vast majority are women (88.3%). This largely immigrant and underserved workforce faces complex factors, which can contribute to adverse health outcomes. To understand relevant barriers and challenges, this mixed-methods study explored the environmental health needs of a heterogeneous group of Latinas from New Jersey (NJ) who clean professionally, and consisted of 3 focus groups (N=15) with a cross-sectional survey (N = 9), both conducted in Spanish. Participants were recruited from community ESL classes in Hackensack, NJ. Analysis of the focus group audio recordings included descriptive and in vivo coding followed by inductive coding to explore thematic analysis. Survey responses were evaluated using descriptive statistics. According to the survey results, the environmental health needs of this population include muscle aches, back problems, asthma, other respiratory problems, migraine or headaches, and skin problems (rash skin, etc.). In the group discussions, the roles of genetics, diet and chemical exposures in cancer etiology generated great interest and a variety of opinions on the subject were explored. Focus group discussions and survey responses suggested that this population also faces barriers, including lack of education, chemical exposures, and inadequate personal protective equipment (PPE). These barriers are compounded by daily environmental exposures related to personal household cleaning practices. The development of culturally and linguistically appropriate interventions is warranted to better protect the health of essential professional cleaners who keep homes, businesses, and schools clean.

PMID:35614881 | CPM:PMC9125105 | DO I:10.1177/11786302221100045

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