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Indicators of Genotoxicity in Farmers and Laborers of Ecological and Conventional Banana Plantations in Ecuador

Department of Environmental Health, Center for Public Health, Medical University, 1090 Vienna, Austria
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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(4), 1435; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17041435
Received: 21 January 2020 / Revised: 19 February 2020 / Accepted: 20 February 2020 / Published: 24 February 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Health)
Banana farming represents an important segment of agricultural production in Ecuador. The health of farmworkers might be compromised by the extensive use of pesticides in plantations applied under poorly regulated conditions. Due to an increased awareness of pesticide-related problems for nature, as well as for worker and consumer health, ecological farming has been established in some plantations of Ecuador. We set out to investigate the occupational health of workers in both conventional and ecological farming. Nuclear anomalies in buccal epithelial cells were used as short-term indicators for genotoxicity and a potentially increased cancer risk in the two groups of farmworkers. By application of the Buccal Micronucleus Cytome Assay (BMCA), we found the frequency of micronuclei in conventional pesticide using farmworkers significantly increased by 2.6-fold, and other nuclear anomalies significantly increased by 24% to 80% (except pyknosis with a non-significant increase of 11%) compared to the farmworkers on ecological plantations. These results demonstrate that ecological farming may provide an alternative to extensive pesticide use with significantly reduced indicators of cancer risk. In conventional farming, improvements in education and instruction regarding the safe handling of pesticides and protective equipment, as well as regulatory measures, are urgently needed. View Full-Text
Keywords: banana farming; occupational health; pesticides; pesticide sprayers; genotoxicity; cytotoxicity banana farming; occupational health; pesticides; pesticide sprayers; genotoxicity; cytotoxicity
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MDPI and ACS Style

Hutter, H.-P.; Poteser, M.; Lemmerer, K.; Wallner, P.; Shahraki Sanavi, S.; Kundi, M.; Moshammer, H.; Weitensfelder, L. Indicators of Genotoxicity in Farmers and Laborers of Ecological and Conventional Banana Plantations in Ecuador. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 1435. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17041435

AMA Style

Hutter H-P, Poteser M, Lemmerer K, Wallner P, Shahraki Sanavi S, Kundi M, Moshammer H, Weitensfelder L. Indicators of Genotoxicity in Farmers and Laborers of Ecological and Conventional Banana Plantations in Ecuador. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2020; 17(4):1435. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17041435

Chicago/Turabian Style

Hutter, Hans-Peter; Poteser, Michael; Lemmerer, Kathrin; Wallner, Peter; Shahraki Sanavi, Shifra; Kundi, Michael; Moshammer, Hanns; Weitensfelder, Lisbeth. 2020. "Indicators of Genotoxicity in Farmers and Laborers of Ecological and Conventional Banana Plantations in Ecuador" Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 17, no. 4: 1435. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17041435

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