REFERENCE: Hovell, M. F., Sipan, C., Hofstetter, C. R., DuBois, B. C., Krefft, A., Conway, J., Jasis, M., Isaacs, H. L. (1988). Occupational health risks for Mexican women: The case of the maquiladora along the Mexican-United States border. International Journal of Health Services, 18, 617-627.

International reports of morbidity among female workers in Mexico's border zone have raised concern about the occupational health of female workers in maquiladora plants (foreign-owned border industries with special tariff benefits). Commentators have suggested that U.S. industries may be exploiting workers by transferring work to nations with less stringent health and safety regulation through the maquiladora program. Using data from a larger evaluation of the effectiveness of Project Concern and a specially developed questionnaire, this study investigated the extent to which female workers reported higher morbidity rates than women with other employment and women not employed outside the home in several colonias (communities) in Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico. Results showed essentially no difference in many shot-term self-reported symptoms of illness among maquiladora workers and two other groups. Women who worked exclusively in the home reported the greatest number of symptoms. These results suggest that additional primary care services may be needed for women who have primarily domestic responsibilities. Additional research is needed to assess the risks for long-latency morbidity.


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