Major concerns in developing countries: applications of the Precautionary Principle in Ecuador

Int J Occup Med Environ Health. 2004;17(1):187-91.


Ecuador is a Latin American country with one of the biggest biodiversities. At the same time, social and environmental problems are also big. Poverty, political and social problems as well as questions like old transport systems, imported hazards from industrialized countries and lack of information and weak health care systems are the framework of this situation. The most common problems are the use of heavy metals in many activities without safety and health protection, a low technological oil production during two decades, intensive use of pesticides in agriculture, and some other chemical risks. A limited capacity to develop prevention strategies, reduced technical and scientific skills, and the absence of a reliable information and control system, lead to a weak response mechanism. The Precautionary Principle could help to stimulate prevention, protection and to have a new tool to improve the interest in environment and health problems. Reinforcing the presence of international organizations like the World Health Organization or the International Labour Organization, establishing bridges among scientific organizations from developed and developing countries and introducing the Precautionary Principle in the legislation and daily practices of industry and agriculture could lead to an improvement in our environment and health.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Developing Countries
  • Ecuador
  • Environmental Health*
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Environmental Pollutants / adverse effects*
  • Hazardous Substances / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Policy Making
  • Poverty
  • Primary Prevention / organization & administration*
  • Risk Assessment
  • World Health Organization


  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Hazardous Substances