Date of Award
Master of Public Health (MPH)
School of Public Health
B. Suzi Ruhl
Shelley D. Geballe
Wildfires have been increasing in recent years due to the climate change that has been affecting the nation and across the globe. The Western part of the United States has been greatly affected, especially California. In 2022 there were 68,988 wildfires reported which consumed 7,577,183 acres nationwide, this was strikingly higher than the 10-year average (National Interagency Coordination Center Wildland Fire Summary and Statistics Annual Report 2022, 2022). The California Wildfires have been detrimental to its residents; however, they have specifically disproportionately affected the Latino population either due to the location of their homes, citizenship status or socioeconomic status (Rosenthal et al., 2021). In recent years, agricultural workers have had to deal with extreme heat and the wildfire smoke. When wildfires happen, especially during harvest season, agriculture workers endure having to tend to the grapes, and while everyone else is evacuating, they must go towards the fire and smoke (Visram, 2023).According to the National Center for Farmworker Health Inc., about 34% of agriculture workers identified as female (National Center for Farmworker Health, Inc, 2021). During 2020-2022 on average, 1 in 8 women in California was of childbearing age (ages 15-44) or about 12%, and they were living in families with incomes below the Federal Poverty Level, leading to negative health impacts and birth outcomes (March of Dimes PeriStats, 2022). A study which included 2,548,347 pregnant individuals, of which 86% were exposed to at least one day of wildfire smoke during the period of four weeks preconception through gestational week 20, who had an average of 7.5 days of wildfire exposure, found wildfire smoke was significantly associated with spontaneous preterm birth, such that each additional day of smoke exposure increased the odds of delivering <37 weeks spontaneously by 0.3% (Waldrop et al., 2023). A policy review supported by meta search of databases was used to find data and information starting from a broad perspective of the United States population to Latinx individuals as agricultural workers. Through the evaluation of multiple policies that are currently in place and those that have been presented in Congress, there is a need for more policies that positively foster and improve the social determinants of health of the most vulnerable.
Gonzalez Juarez, Rosa, "Wildfires And Their Impacts On Immigrant Farmworker Women Of Childbearing Age" (2023). Public Health Theses. 2256.
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