EPA Science Inventory

CHARCOAL-PRODUCING INDUSTRIES IN NORTHEASTERN BRAZIL

Citation:

Kato, M., D M. DeMarini, A. B. Carvalho, M. Rego, L. Gomes, G. F. Gattas, AND D. Loomis. CHARCOAL-PRODUCING INDUSTRIES IN NORTHEASTERN BRAZIL. OCCUPATIONAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL MEDICINE. BMJ / British Medical Journal Publishing Group, London, 62(2):128-132, (2005).

Description:

Charcoal workers in northeastern Brazil: Occupational risks and effects of exposure to wood smoke
ABSTRACT
Brazil has the largest production of charcoal in the world, which is used mostly in the iron and steel industries. In most of the production sites, the process is based on empirical knowledge and depends heavily on human labor. Working conditions are precarious, and workers are exposed to wood smoke as well as to charcoal dust, which contain some irritant and genotoxic compounds. However, there has been little research on the health conditions or possible genetic damages associated with this industrial activity. We conducted a cross-sectional study in Bahia State, Brazil, to assess occupational hazards in charcoal industries. Of 11 charcoal plants in the area, 8 companies were visited, and 169 adult males that worked either in the wood cutting activity or in charcoal kilns were contacted. In addition to social demographic data, respiratory health information was collected using a standard questionnaire. Cough among nonsmokers was the only respiratory symptom associated with wood smoke exposure, prevalence odds ratio (POR) = 5.83, 95% confidence interval (95% CI) = 1.16 - 29.25. The prevalence of more severe symptoms such as wheezing and difficulty of breathing was low. DNA damage detected by single cell gel electrophoresis in nasal epithelia was most prevalent among workers exposed to wood smoke, POR = 7.00, 95% CI = 2.17 - 22.30. Charcoal production is still an important activity in many developing countries, and this cross-sectional study serves as a basis for future research on the health effects of wood smoke exposure on charcoal workers.

Purpose/Objective:

To assess occupational hazards in charcoal industries using a cross-sectional study in Bahia State, Brazil.

Record Details:

Record Type: DOCUMENT (JOURNAL/PEER REVIEWED JOURNAL)
Start Date: 02/01/2005
Completion Date: 02/01/2005
Record Last Revised: 08/07/2006
Record Created: 12/08/2004
Record Released: 12/08/2004
OMB Category: Other
Record ID: 105141

Organization:

U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

NATIONAL HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS RESEARCH LAB

ENVIRONMENTAL CARCINOGENESIS DIVISION

MOLECULAR TOXICOLOGY BRANCH