Informal street vending is a form of informal employment, and occupational conditions for people within this group have been proven to be detrimental to their health. Two independent reviewers carried out a systematic evaluation of the existing literature in South Africa on environmental and occupational exposures, as well as the health effects faced by informal street food vendors. Methods:
354 published publications were reviewed and 9 were included, following the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. Results:
The evidence showed that informal street vendors are exposed to workplace risks that affect their health and wellbeing. Non-enclosed vendor stalls and frequent use of open fires were among the risk concerns. Vendors are vulnerable to gastrointestinal diseases such as salmonellosis and respiratory infections such as influenza and COVID-19 due to inadequate access to water, waste disposal facilities, and basic hygiene awareness and practices. Exposure to air pollutants increased the risk of respiratory and urinary illnesses and an impact on the reproductive health of female street vendors. Conclusions:
This investigation demonstrated the difficulties in complying with the requirements of the Regulations Governing General Hygiene Requirements for Food Premises, the Transport of Food, and Related Matters (no. R638 of 22 June 2018) and the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act (no. 85 of 1993). Within South African borders, there is a scarcity of research on occupational exposures and health effects in this occupation. As a result, eliminating or preventing these occupational exposures should be at the top of government and stakeholder agendas. The majority of the research was carried out in KwaZulu Natal and used a quantitative, cross-sectional technique. Other designs, including cohorts, time series, and randomized intervention trials, were underutilized.
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