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January 20, 1989

Educating Farmers, Physicians Who Treat Them, About Rural Life's Potential Health Hazards

JAMA. 1989;261(3):343. doi:10.1001/jama.1989.03420030017004

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MOVES ARE AFOOT to make farm life more safe through legislation to regulate equipment, pesticides, and fertilizers and provide training in agricultural safety and health. This would be coordinated by a proposed new center within the Public Health Service.

It started with conferences in Iowa City and Des Moines that resulted in formation of a National Coalition for Agricultural Safety and Health. This effort moved to Washington, DC, where coalition leaders briefed congressmen and their staffs, including Senator Tom Harkin (D, Iowa) and Representative Tom Tauke (R, Iowa). Tauke, in a joint statement with Representative Mike Synar (D, Okla), promised there would be congressional efforts to address the health care needs of rural Americans.

The coalition says that every year 1600 farmers and agricultural workers are killed in accidents and an additional 170 000 are injured or become seriously ill—half of them permanently. In addition, it says, 300 children die