Epidemiological study on small-scale farmers and farm workers in conventional and organic agriculture (Bananas) in Ecuador

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Pesticide use in the cultivation of “cash crops” such as banana is increasing worldwide. Agrochemical use and occupational as well as environmental exposures in export banana production have been documented in some parts of Ecuador, the world‘s largest exporter of bananas.
The aim of our cross-sectional epidemiological study was to determine the living and working conditions, wellbeing and health of farm workers and small-scale farmers in fair/organic farming and of workers in conventional farming using biocides.
Under prevailing conditions of conventional farming with extensive pesticide use, health risks are inevitable. Results of the survey demonstrate the need for occupational safety measures including training and protective clothes as well as encouraging minimal application of pesticides and/or organic farming.