Cultivated areas and rural workers' behavior are responsible for the increase in agricultural intoxications in Brazil? Are these factors associated?

Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2020 Oct;27(30):38064-38071. doi: 10.1007/s11356-020-09988-3. Epub 2020 Jul 3.


In Brazil, the increased use of pesticides has caused several consequences such as mortality of non-target species, contamination of aquatic environments, and changes in biodiversity. Regarding humans, such products could increase the cases of poisoning, the number of different types of cancer, and also neurodegenerative and autoimmune diseases, especially in workers who occupationally handle pesticides. Therefore, this study aimed to evaluate the number of agricultural poisonings from 2007 to 2017 and if there is a correlation between harvested areas, and to analyze the possible factors that contribute to poisonings. Our results demonstrated an increase in poisonings by 8% and a correlation with the growth of the harvested area. We emphasize that other factors are also determinant for the increase of poisonings such as the absence or inappropriate use of personal protective equipment (PPE), the toxicity of mixtures, the mishandling, and the lack of information on how to use and spray such products. Among the circumstances about poisoning, we presented suicide attempts and accidental causes. We found that the area planted and harvested is also associated with the amount of poisoning; however, several other behavioral factors are also determinant for the growth of agricultural poisoning in Brazil.

Keywords: Harvest area; PPE; Pesticides; Poisoning; Suicides.

MeSH terms

  • Agricultural Workers' Diseases*
  • Agriculture
  • Brazil
  • Humans
  • Occupational Exposure*
  • Pesticides*
  • Poisoning*


  • Pesticides