Heat Stress and Kidney Function in Farmworkers in the US: A Scoping Review

J Agromedicine. 2022 Apr;27(2):183-192. doi: 10.1080/1059924X.2021.1893883. Epub 2021 Mar 29.


Chronic kidney disease of unknown etiology (CKDu) has been well described in farmworkers in Latin America. Agricultural workers in the United States (US) are exposed to similar hot and humid working conditions, but CKDu in the US is under-described. This review aims to better understand the current literature describing the connection between heat stress and kidney function in farmworkers in the United States. Utilizing a scoping review methodology, we searched CINAHL, Embase, PubMed, and Web of Science databases to better understand the current state of the heat stress and kidney function research in farmworkers within the United States. In this review, 229 pieces of literature were screened. Ultimately, 4 articles were chosen to be included in the scoping review. Common themes within the articles were variations in study protocol lengths and type of heat stress measurement. Additionally, the majority of the work completed was quantitative to date, with only one study providing a critical social lens for analysis of CKDu in the United States. We found evidence that more work is needed within the US to understand the relationship between working in the heat and kidney function in agricultural and other workers who experience high heat conditions at work and are susceptible to the deleterious effects of working in said conditions.

Keywords: Agricultural workers; heat stress; kidney function.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Farmers
  • Heat Stress Disorders*
  • Heat-Shock Response
  • Humans
  • Kidney
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic* / epidemiology
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic* / etiology
  • United States