Climate change and agricultural workers' health in Ecuador: occupational exposure to UV radiation and hot environments

Ann Ist Super Sanita. Jul-Sep 2016;52(3):368-373. doi: 10.4415/ANN_16_03_08.

Abstract

Climate change is a global concern but little is known about its potential health effects in workers from non-industrialized countries. Ecuadorian workers from the coast (hot environments) and Andean region (elevated UV radiation) might be at particular risk of such effects. In the Andean region, measurements of UV index show maximum levels exceeding 11, a level considered being extreme according to the WHO. Also, an increased incidence of skin cancer was reported the last decennium, this being the second most common cancer type in men and women. In the coast, a high reported prevalence of kidney disease in agricultural workers is suggested to be related to exposure to hot temperatures. The scarce data available on occupational health in Ecuadorian agricultural workers raise the need for further investigation. Data worldwide shows an increasing prevalence of UV radiation- and heat stress-related illnesses in agricultural workers and urges the adoption of preventive measures.

MeSH terms

  • Agricultural Workers' Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Air Pollution
  • Climate Change*
  • Ecuador
  • Environment
  • Farmers
  • Hot Temperature*
  • Humans
  • Occupational Exposure / statistics & numerical data*
  • Occupational Health / trends*
  • Ultraviolet Rays*