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Special Issue "Agricultural Occupational Health and Occupational Exposure"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Occupational Safety and Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2022) | Viewed by 16171

Special Issue Editor

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

About half of the human population lives and works in rural areas, mainly engaged in agricultural activities, which expose workers to all the known health and safety risks: pesticides and other chemicals; noise; vibrations; solar radiation; climate changes; organizational factors; and biological, biomechanical, and allergic risks. In addition, the risk of accidents is very relevant, bringing about half of the total fatalities observed every year in the world. Apart from these well-known risks, new risks and diseases are emerging, such as biological risk from vectors, modulated by climate changes, or risks related to new production modalities, such as the cases of peripheral neuropathy observed in pig butchers. The risks can affect particularly vulnerable subgroups, such as seasonal, temporary workers and migrants. Finally, despite this very high exposure to occupational risks, the access of agricultural workers to occupational health care is very limited, with a coverage ranging from zero to 10–15% in the most advanced situations. This situation is mainly linked with the structure of agricultural enterprises, where there is a prevalence of small-sized and family-based enterprises, not seldom located in remote areas and without employees. On the other hand, agriculture produces food using the land. Therefore, in a world where the food demand is growing very quickly, it represents a key activity for the promotion of the health of billion humans. But only healthy and training agricultural workers can produce healthy food without harming the environment.

All these themes will be addressed in this Special Issue. Potential contributors are encouraged to submit original research papers as well as review papers. Contributions on risk assessment, health effects, biological monitoring of exposure, as well as basic occupational health services are very welcome.

Prof. Claudio Colosio
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2500 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • agriculture
  • occupational risks
  • pesticides
  • occupational health
  • occupational health care
  • basic occupational health services

Published Papers (15 papers)

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Research

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Article
Assessing the Impact of Work Activities on the Physiological Load in a Sample of Loggers in Sicily (Italy)
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(13), 7695; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19137695 - 23 Jun 2022
Viewed by 293
Abstract
Occupational logging activities expose workers to a wide range of risk factors, such as lifting heavy loads, prolonged, awkward positioning of the lower back, repetitive movements, and insufficient work pauses. Body posture has an important impact on the level of physiological load. The [...] Read more.
Occupational logging activities expose workers to a wide range of risk factors, such as lifting heavy loads, prolonged, awkward positioning of the lower back, repetitive movements, and insufficient work pauses. Body posture has an important impact on the level of physiological load. The present study involved a group of 40 loggers in the province of Enna (Sicily, Italy) with the aim of defining the impact of logging activities on the workers’ physiological strain during the three primary work tasks of felling, delimbing, and bucking. The Zephyr Bioharness measurement system was used to record trunk posture and heart rate data during work tasks. The NASA TLX questionnaire was used to explore workers’ effort perception of the work tasks. Based on our results, the most demanding work task was tree felling, which requires a higher level of cardiac cost and longer periods spent in awkward trunk postures. The perceived physiological workload was consistently underestimated, especially by the more experienced loggers. Lastly, as the weight of the chainsaw increased, the cardiac load increased. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agricultural Occupational Health and Occupational Exposure)
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Article
Pesticide Exposure in Fruit-Growers: Comparing Levels and Determinants Assessed under Usual Conditions of Work (CANEPA Study) with Those Predicted by Registration Process (Agricultural Operator Exposure Model)
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(8), 4611; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19084611 - 11 Apr 2022
Viewed by 507
Abstract
Knowledge of pesticide exposure levels in farmers is necessary for epidemiological studies and regulatory purposes. In the European pesticide registration process, operators’ exposure is predicted using the Agricultural Operator Exposure Model (AOEM), created in 2014 by the European Food Safety Authority based on [...] Read more.
Knowledge of pesticide exposure levels in farmers is necessary for epidemiological studies and regulatory purposes. In the European pesticide registration process, operators’ exposure is predicted using the Agricultural Operator Exposure Model (AOEM), created in 2014 by the European Food Safety Authority based on studies conducted by the pesticide industry. We compared operators’ exposures during treatment days in the apple-growing industry under non-controlled working conditions and AOEM-predicted values. The dermal exposure of thirty French apple-growers from the CANEPA study when applying two fungicides was measured using body patches and cotton gloves. For each observation, the corresponding exposure was calculated by means of the AOEM, using data recorded about the operator, spraying equipment and personal protective equipment (PPE) used. A significant linear correlation was observed between calculated and measured daily exposures. The model overestimated the daily exposure approximately 4-fold and the exposure during application 10-fold. However, exposure was underestimated during mixing/loading for 70% of the observations when the operator wore PPE. The AOEM did not overestimate exposures in all circumstances, especially during mixing/loading, when operators handle concentrated products. The protection provided by PPE appeared to be overestimated. This could be due to the optimal working conditions under which the “industrial” studies are conducted, which may not be representative of real working conditions of operators in fruit-growing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agricultural Occupational Health and Occupational Exposure)
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Article
“She’ll Be Right, Mate”: A Mixed Methods Analysis of Skin Cancer Prevention Practices among Australian Farmers—An At-Risk Group
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(5), 2940; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19052940 - 03 Mar 2022
Viewed by 640
Abstract
This study examined Australian farmers’ engagement with skin cancer prevention behaviours and explored what made it hard for them to be ‘SunSmart’ (barriers), and what could be done to make prevention easier (facilitators). In total, 498 farmers (83.1% male, 22–89 years, 50.8% grain, [...] Read more.
This study examined Australian farmers’ engagement with skin cancer prevention behaviours and explored what made it hard for them to be ‘SunSmart’ (barriers), and what could be done to make prevention easier (facilitators). In total, 498 farmers (83.1% male, 22–89 years, 50.8% grain, sheep, or cattle farmers) participated. The least frequently performed SunSmart behaviours (reported as never practiced during summer) were using SPF 30+ sunscreen (16.6%), wearing protective sunglasses (10.5%), and wearing protective clothing (8.6%). Greater engagement (i.e., higher scores on scale from Never to Always) with SunSmart behaviours was explained by gender (female), educational attainment (trade or technical college certificate vs. high school), personal skin cancer history, and skin sun sensitivity. Barriers reported by farmers related to personal preferences (e.g., short-sleeved rather than long-sleeved clothing), comfort, and perceived impracticality of sun protection. Farmers’ solutions included making protective clothing and sunscreen more appropriate for farm work (e.g., by making clothing more breathable). A personal health scare was the most reported motivation for skin cancer prevention. Findings highlight the need for increased access to sun-protective clothing and sunscreen that is suitable for wearing when working on farms, complemented by culturally appropriate health education messaging, to encourage more farmers to perform SunSmart behaviours. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agricultural Occupational Health and Occupational Exposure)
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Article
Pesticide Use, Perceived Health Risks and Management in Ethiopia and in Hungary: A Comparative Analysis
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(19), 10431; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph181910431 - 03 Oct 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1381
Abstract
Pesticides play a very important role for ensuring food security and economic growth but their use can cause harmful effects to human health and to the environment. The study aimed to investigate the level of knowledge, health risk perceptions, and experiences on the [...] Read more.
Pesticides play a very important role for ensuring food security and economic growth but their use can cause harmful effects to human health and to the environment. The study aimed to investigate the level of knowledge, health risk perceptions, and experiences on the practice of pesticide use and management among extension officers in Ethiopia and plant doctors in Hungary. A questionnaire survey among 326 officers was conducted in the two study areas and data were analyzed by ordinal logistic regression. According to the findings, Hungarian officers had much better knowledge of pesticide products (92%), and less frequently experienced pesticide poisoning among applicators (7%) than the Ethiopians (66% and 41%, respectively). Hungarian officers perceived less health risk of pesticide use (AOR = 0.46, 95%, Cl: 0.27–0.80), were ten times more likely to deem the pesticide management system effective (AOR = 10.23, 95%, Cl: 5.68–18.46) and were nine times more likely to report that applicators used personal protective equipment (AOR = 8.95, 95%, Cl: 4.94–16.28). A significant proportion of officers from both countries reported inappropriate methods of pesticide residue disposal. These observations point out that the situation of pesticide use and knowledge and management of pesticide products is definitely better in Hungary; nevertheless, the issue continues to need more attention in both settings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agricultural Occupational Health and Occupational Exposure)
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Article
Occupational Injuries among Latino/a Immigrant Cattle Feedyard Workers in the Central States Region of the United States
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(16), 8821; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18168821 - 21 Aug 2021
Viewed by 916
Abstract
Agriculture is a dangerous industry with high rates of occupational injuries. Immigrants comprise the majority of the hired agricultural workforce in the United States, and these workers may be at a higher risk for job-related injuries. This study addressed the frequency, characteristics, and [...] Read more.
Agriculture is a dangerous industry with high rates of occupational injuries. Immigrants comprise the majority of the hired agricultural workforce in the United States, and these workers may be at a higher risk for job-related injuries. This study addressed the frequency, characteristics, and risk factors of occupational injuries among Latino immigrant cattle feedyard workers. Data were collected through structured interviews with Latino immigrant cattle feedyard workers in Kansas and Nebraska (n = 243; 90.9% male). Descriptive statistics and logistic regression were used to identify risk factors for injury. Nearly three-fourths of participants (71.2%) reported having experienced one or more injuries in the past while working on a cattle feedyard. The most frequent types of reported injuries, including those not requiring medical care, were bruises/contusions (40%), cuts/lacerations (21%), and sprains/strains (12%). These injuries were mainly caused by animals/livestock (33%), chemicals (23%), falls (12%), and tools (9%). Significant risk factors for injury included male gender (OR 5.9), being over age 35 (OR 2.6), working on a large or an extra-large feedyard (OR 5.4), having 11 or more employees on the feedyard (OR 3.6), and working more than eight hours a day (OR 4.7). Having received safety training was also associated with greater risk of injury in a univariable model (OR 2.6). Cattle feedyard workers are at high risk for injury and require more effective preventive measures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agricultural Occupational Health and Occupational Exposure)
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Article
Factors Influencing Practice of Pesticide Use and Acute Health Symptoms among Farmers in Nakhon Sawan, Thailand
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(16), 8803; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18168803 - 20 Aug 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 787
Abstract
Information on knowledge (K), attitude (A), and practice (P) in terms of pesticide use is essential for an effective exposure control program. The objectives of this study were to survey the level of knowledge, attitude, and practice in terms of pesticide use, and [...] Read more.
Information on knowledge (K), attitude (A), and practice (P) in terms of pesticide use is essential for an effective exposure control program. The objectives of this study were to survey the level of knowledge, attitude, and practice in terms of pesticide use, and the prevalence of acute health symptoms (AHSs) among farmers in Nakhon Sawan Province, Thailand. The study also tried to identify factors affecting the practice of pesticide use. Data from 680 farmers were collected using a face-to-face interview questionnaire. The relationship between safety practices and related factors was analyzed using ordinal logistic regression. This study found about 40% of the farmers had a good level of practice. Factors affecting practice were education, work experience, level of knowledge, or attitudes. Many participants experienced acute health symptoms in the past 24 h, and these symptoms were significantly associated with poor practice (p < 0.05). Public health organizations should provide farmers with more information, especially on chronic effects of pesticides. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agricultural Occupational Health and Occupational Exposure)
Article
Comparison of Thyroid Hormone Levels between Women Farmers and Non-Farmers in Banten Indonesia
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(12), 6618; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18126618 - 19 Jun 2021
Viewed by 981
Abstract
Pesticides are suspected of being endocrine disruptors. This cross-sectional study measured serum samples for levels of thyroid hormones including thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), triiodothyronine (T3), thyroxine (T4), free T3 (FT3), and free T4 (FT4) among Indonesian female farmers (n = 127) and [...] Read more.
Pesticides are suspected of being endocrine disruptors. This cross-sectional study measured serum samples for levels of thyroid hormones including thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), triiodothyronine (T3), thyroxine (T4), free T3 (FT3), and free T4 (FT4) among Indonesian female farmers (n = 127) and non-farmers (n = 127). A questionnaire was used to collect information on demographics and risk factors including work characteristics and frequency, and the use of home and agricultural pesticides. Results showed that there were no significant differences in the distribution of the clinical categories of thyroid levels between farmers and non-farmers except for FT3 and T4. However, in multivariable regression controlling for confounders, FT3 and T4 were significantly higher for farmers compared to non-farmers. In addition, 32% of farmers had clinically low iodine levels and 49% of non-farmers had clinically high iodine levels. We conclude that pesticide exposure may not be as important as iodine intake in explaining these findings. We recommend counseling by health workers about the importance of using iodized salt for farmers and counseling about high iodine foods that need to be avoided for non-farmers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agricultural Occupational Health and Occupational Exposure)
Article
Agricultural Stakeholders’ Perceptions of Occupational Health and Safety in the Southeastern U.S. Coastal States
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(12), 6605; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18126605 - 19 Jun 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 975
Abstract
Agriculture remains a highly dangerous industry for occupational health and safety. This study sought to understand the perspective of agricultural professionals with respect to the current state of the industry, challenges, and opportunities relevant to occupational health and safety. Additional questions related to [...] Read more.
Agriculture remains a highly dangerous industry for occupational health and safety. This study sought to understand the perspective of agricultural professionals with respect to the current state of the industry, challenges, and opportunities relevant to occupational health and safety. Additional questions related to the COVID-19 pandemic emerged in the findings as well. Eleven industry professionals were interviewed, and the transcripts were qualitatively analyzed for emergent themes following a constant comparative method. Three themes emerged in our findings: a description of the current state of occupational health and safety in the agricultural industry, barriers to improving occupational health and safety, and enablers of occupational health and safety. Each theme contained subthemes. The description of the industry encompassed regulations, inherent danger, and attitudes and education. Barriers included education, health care access, logistics, discrimination and cultural competency, economic considerations, and the labor contracting system. Enablers included education, regulations, and health care and prevention. These findings are consistent with existing literature, revealing interconnected and overlapping challenges and opportunities. Further research is recommended with a broader sample of participants, especially farmworkers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agricultural Occupational Health and Occupational Exposure)
Article
Executive Function among Chilean Shellfish Divers: A Cross-Sectional Study Considering Working and Health Conditions in Artisanal Fishing
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(11), 5923; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18115923 - 31 May 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1086
Abstract
Knowledge about professional diving-related risk factors for reduced executive function is limited. We therefore evaluated the association between decompression illness and executive functioning among artisanal divers in southern Chile. The cross-sectional study included 104 male divers and 58 male non-diving fishermen from two [...] Read more.
Knowledge about professional diving-related risk factors for reduced executive function is limited. We therefore evaluated the association between decompression illness and executive functioning among artisanal divers in southern Chile. The cross-sectional study included 104 male divers and 58 male non-diving fishermen from two fishing communities. Divers self-reported frequency and severity of symptoms of decompression illness. Executive function was evaluated by perseverative responses and perseverative errors in the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test. Age, alcohol consumption, and symptoms of depression were a-priori defined as potential confounders and included in linear regression models. Comparing divers and non-divers, no differences in the executive function were found. Among divers, 75% reported a history of at least mild decompression sickness. Higher frequency and severity of symptoms of decompression illness were associated with reduced executive function. Therefore, intervention strategies for artisanal divers should focus on prevention of decompression illness. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agricultural Occupational Health and Occupational Exposure)
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Article
Factors Associated with Practice of Chemical Pesticide Use and Acute Poisoning Experienced by Farmers in Chitwan District, Nepal
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(8), 4194; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18084194 - 15 Apr 2021
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 1285
Abstract
In view of increasing irrational use and unsafe handling of pesticides in agriculture in Nepal, a descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted to assess the practice of chemical pesticide use and acute health symptoms experienced by farmers. A total of 790 farmers from the [...] Read more.
In view of increasing irrational use and unsafe handling of pesticides in agriculture in Nepal, a descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted to assess the practice of chemical pesticide use and acute health symptoms experienced by farmers. A total of 790 farmers from the Chitwan district were randomly selected for the study. X2 test, T-test, and Multiple Logistic Regression were used for analysis. Among the farmers, 84% used exclusively chemical pesticide. Farmers with better knowledge on pesticide handling were 8.3 times more likely to practice safe purchasing, four times more likely to practice safe mixing and spraying, and two times more likely to practice safe storage and disposal. Similarly, perception/attitude of farmers about chemical pesticide policy and market management was significantly associated with the practice of farmers during purchasing, mixing and spraying, and storage and disposal. Among the users of chemical pesticides, 18.7% farmers experienced one or more pesticide related acute symptoms of health problems during the previous 12 months. Farmers with unsafe practices of pesticide handling were two times more likely to suffer from acute poisoning. It is concluded that knowledge about pesticide handling and favorable perception/attitude on pesticide policy and market management are the predictors of safe use of pesticide. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agricultural Occupational Health and Occupational Exposure)
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Article
Migrant Agricultural Workers’ Health, Safety and Access to Protections: A Descriptive Survey Identifying Structural Gaps and Vulnerabilities in the Interior of British Columbia, Canada
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(7), 3696; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18073696 - 01 Apr 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1746 | Correction
Abstract
In this paper, we provide descriptive data that characterize the health, safety, and social care environment of migrant agricultural workers in British Columbia, Canada. Through the administration of surveys (n = 179), we gathered information in three domains: (1) living and working [...] Read more.
In this paper, we provide descriptive data that characterize the health, safety, and social care environment of migrant agricultural workers in British Columbia, Canada. Through the administration of surveys (n = 179), we gathered information in three domains: (1) living and working conditions; (2) barriers to rights, health, safety and advocacy/reporting; (3) accessibility of services. Our study confirms what predominantly qualitative studies and Ontario-based survey data indicate in terms of health, legal, and social barriers to care and protection for this population. Our findings also highlight the prevalence of communication barriers and the limited degree of confidence in government authorities and contact with support organizations this population faces. Notably, survey respondents expressed a strong intention to report concerns/issues to authorities while simultaneously reporting that they lacked the knowledge to initiate such complaints. These findings call into question government responses that task the agricultural industry with addressing access and service gaps that may be more effectively addressed by government agencies and service providers. In order to improve supports and protections for migrant agricultural workers, policies and practices should be implemented that: (1) empower workers to independently access health, social, and legal protections and limit workers’ dependence on their employers when help-seeking; (2) provide avenues for increased proactive inspections, anonymous reporting, alternative housing/employment and meaningful 2-way communication with regulators so that the burden of reporting is lessened for this workforce; (3) systematically address breaches in privacy, translation, and adequate workplace injury assessments in the healthcare system. Ultimately, the COVID-19 context has put into sharper focus the complex gaps in health, social and legal services and protections for migrant agricultural workers. The close chronology of our data collection with this event can help us understand the factors that have resulted in so much tragedy among this workforce. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agricultural Occupational Health and Occupational Exposure)
Article
Precarious Essential Work, Immigrant Dairy Farmworkers, and Occupational Health Experiences in Vermont
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(7), 3675; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18073675 - 01 Apr 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1412
Abstract
Migrant dairy workers in Vermont face a wide range of occupational and health hazards at work. This research examines the environmental risks, occupational health hazards, and health outcomes experienced by migrant dairy farm workers in Vermont. This research draws on a triangulation of [...] Read more.
Migrant dairy workers in Vermont face a wide range of occupational and health hazards at work. This research examines the environmental risks, occupational health hazards, and health outcomes experienced by migrant dairy farm workers in Vermont. This research draws on a triangulation of sources including analysis of data—surveys and interviews with migrant dairy farmworkers gathered by the organization Migrant Justice since 2015 as well as relevant key informant interviews with community organizations across the state to characterize the occupational health experiences of migrant dairy workers in Vermont. Our results show that Vermont migrant dairy farmworkers received poor health and safety training and lacked sufficient protective gear. Over three quarters of the respondents reported experiencing harm from chemical and biological risks. Close to half the survey respondents reported headaches, itchy eyes and cough; a quarter reported breathing difficulties; three fourths reported being hurt by animal-related risks. These exposures and existing health concerns are avoidable. Migrant workers require better social representation and advocates to negotiate better work-related protection and training, access to health services, and social welfare to ensure their health and safety. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agricultural Occupational Health and Occupational Exposure)
Article
Insecticide Filtration Efficiency of Respiratory Protective Equipment Commonly Worn by Farmers in Thailand
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(5), 2624; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18052624 - 05 Mar 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1250
Abstract
Farmers are at a high risk of inhalation exposure when handling pesticides. Thai farmers usually protect themselves against pesticide exposure by wearing commercial respiratory protective equipment (RPE) available from rural community markets. However, scientific data regarding the pesticide filtration efficiency of RPE commonly [...] Read more.
Farmers are at a high risk of inhalation exposure when handling pesticides. Thai farmers usually protect themselves against pesticide exposure by wearing commercial respiratory protective equipment (RPE) available from rural community markets. However, scientific data regarding the pesticide filtration efficiency of RPE commonly worn by farmers is limited. Thus, this study aimed to investigate the efficiency of insecticide filtration of various RPE commonly worn by farmers in Thailand. The half facepiece respirator was used as a control to compare the results with other RPE. Ten types of RPE were selected for testing. The filtration efficiency of each RPE against insecticides was tested in a laboratory. The remarkable findings were that a surgical mask demonstrated the least filtration efficiency of all tested insecticides, with a range of 25.7–61.5%. The RPE available in rural markets of Thailand had a filtration efficiency within a range of 64.9–95.4%, whereas a half facepiece respirator was the most efficient in filtering insecticides, with a range of 96.5–98.9%. Therefore, our results suggest that the RPE most frequently worn by farmers may not provide adequate protection when compared with the respirator. However, considerations around RPE use in low-and middle-income countries and tropical climate conditions should be based on pesticide toxicity and practical use, ensuring balance between the risks from pesticide exposure and acceptance of PPE use. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agricultural Occupational Health and Occupational Exposure)
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Review

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Review
Time for Re-Evaluating the Human Carcinogenicity of Ethylenedithiocarbamate Fungicides? A Systematic Review
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(5), 2632; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19052632 - 24 Feb 2022
Viewed by 575
Abstract
Background. In January 2021, the European Union ended the license of Mancozeb, the bestselling ethylenedithiocarbamate (EBDC) fungicide, because of some properties typical of human carcinogens. This decision contrasts the IARC classification of EBDC fungicides (Group 3, not classifiable as to human carcinogenicity). A [...] Read more.
Background. In January 2021, the European Union ended the license of Mancozeb, the bestselling ethylenedithiocarbamate (EBDC) fungicide, because of some properties typical of human carcinogens. This decision contrasts the IARC classification of EBDC fungicides (Group 3, not classifiable as to human carcinogenicity). A systematic review of the scientific literature was conducted to explore the current evidence. Methods. Human and experimental studies of cancer and exposure to EBDC fungicides (Mancozeb, Maneb, Zineb, and others) and ethylene thiourea (ETU), their major metabolite, published in English as of December 2021, were retrieved using PubMed, the list of references of the relevant reports, and grey literature. Results. The epidemiological evidence of EBDC carcinogenicity is inadequate, with two studies each suggesting an association with melanoma and brain cancer and inconsistent findings for thyroid cancer. Experimental animal studies point at thyroid cancer in rats and liver cancer in mice, while multiple organs were affected following the long-term oral administration of Mancozeb. The mechanism of thyroid carcinogenesis in rats has also been shown to occur in humans. Genotoxic effects have been reported. Conclusions. The results of this systematic review suggest inadequate evidence for the carcinogenicity of EBDC fungicides from human studies and sufficient evidence from animal studies, with positive results on three out of ten key characteristics of carcinogens applying to humans as well. An IARC re-evaluation of the human carcinogenicity of EBDC fungicides is warranted. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agricultural Occupational Health and Occupational Exposure)
Review
Case Fatality as an Indicator for the Human Toxicity of Pesticides—A Systematic Scoping Review on the Availability and Variability of Severity Indicators of Pesticide Poisoning
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(16), 8307; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18168307 - 05 Aug 2021
Viewed by 951
Abstract
Objective: To investigate if case fatality and other indicators of the severity of human pesticide poisonings can be used to prioritize pesticides of public health concern. To study the heterogeneity of data across countries, cause of poisonings, and treatment facilities. Methods: We searched [...] Read more.
Objective: To investigate if case fatality and other indicators of the severity of human pesticide poisonings can be used to prioritize pesticides of public health concern. To study the heterogeneity of data across countries, cause of poisonings, and treatment facilities. Methods: We searched literature databases as well as the internet for studies on case-fatality and severity scores of pesticide poisoning. Studies published between 1990 and 2014 providing information on active ingredients in pesticides or chemical groups of active ingredients were included. The variability of case-fatality-ratios was analyzed by computing the coefficient of variation as the ratio of the standard deviation to the mean. Findings: A total of 149 papers were identified of which 67 could be included after assessment. Case-fatality-ratio (CFR) on 66 active ingredients and additionally on 13 groups of active ingredients were reported from 20 countries. The overall median CFR for group of pesticides was 9%, for single pesticides 8%. Of those 12 active ingredients with a CFR above 20% more than half are WHO-classified as “moderately hazardous” or “unlikely to present acute hazard”. Two of seven pesticides considered “unlikely to present hazard in normal use” showed a CFR above 20%. The cross-study variability of reported case fatality was rather low. Studies most often utilized the Glasgow Coma Score for grading the severity of poisoning. Conclusion: Although human pesticide poisoning is a serious public health problem, an unexpectedly small number of publications report on the clinical outcomes within our study period. However, CFRs of acute human pesticide poisoning are available for several groups of pesticides as well as for active ingredients showing moderate cross-study variability. Our results underline that CFR is an indicator of the human toxicity of pesticides and can be utilized to prioritize highly hazardous pesticides especially since there is limited correspondence between the animal-test-based hazard classification and the human CFR of the respective pesticide. The reporting of available poisoning data should be improved, human case-fatality data are a reasonable tool to be included systematically in the periodic statutory review of pesticides and their regulation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agricultural Occupational Health and Occupational Exposure)
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