Workplace carcinogen and pesticide exposures in Costa Rica

Int J Occup Environ Health. Apr-Jun 2003;9(2):104-11. doi: 10.1179/oeh.2003.9.2.104.


The CAREX data system converts national workforce volumes and proportions of workers exposed to workplace carcinogens into numbers of exposed in 55 industrial categories. CAREX was adapted for Costa Rica for 27 carcinogens and seven groups of pesticides. Widespread workplace carcinogens in the 1.3 million workforce of Costa Rica are solar radiation (333,000 workers), diesel engine exhaust (278,000), environmental tobacco smoke (71,000), hexavalent chromium compounds (55,000), benzene (52,000), wood dust (32,000), silica dust (27,000), lead and inorganic lead compounds (19,000), and polycyclic aromatic compounds (17,000). The most ubiquitous pesticides were paraquat and diquat (175,000), mancozeb, maneb, and zineb (49,000), chlorothalonil (38,000), benomyl (19,000), and chlorophenoxy herbicides (11,000). Among women, formaldehyde, radon, and methylene chloride overrode pesticides, chromium, wood dust, and silica dust in numbers of exposed. High-risk sectors included agriculture, construction, personal and household services, land and water transport and allied services, pottery and similar industries, woodworks, mining, forestry and logging, fishing, manufacturing of electrical machinery, and bar and restaurant personnel.

MeSH terms

  • Carcinogens / analysis*
  • Costa Rica / epidemiology
  • Environmental Monitoring / methods*
  • Epidemiological Monitoring
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Industry
  • Male
  • Occupational Exposure / analysis*
  • Occupational Exposure / statistics & numerical data
  • Occupational Health / statistics & numerical data
  • Pesticides / analysis*
  • Prevalence
  • Public Health Informatics


  • Carcinogens
  • Pesticides