Patricia Marín and her husband, Javier, are originally from Mexico, but they’ve worked picking fruit and pruning trees for decades in the orchards of central Washington’s Yakima Valley.
Most people think of asthma as a city kid problem — but it turns out rural kids are just as likely to have asthma. And the children of the people who grow our food are especially vulnerable.
Researchers at the University of Washington and the Yakima Valley Farm Workers’ Clinic are working on a new approach to solving the problem.
“When there’s like a lot of dust around me,” Azul says, “that’s when I feel like coughing, when I can’t, like, really cough right. I feel like my air goes away sometimes.”
Azul missed a lot of school because of her asthma, and her mom missed a lot of work.
“I had to stop working because of the dust and all the chemicals I brought home on my clothes,” which would trigger Azul’s asthma, Patricia Marín explains. “I couldn’t come home like that and hug my daughter.”