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Cadernos de Saúde Pública

On-line version ISSN 1678-4464Print version ISSN 0102-311X


LEVIGARD, Yvonne Elsa  and  ROZEMBERG, Brani. Occupational exposure to pesticides and health professionals' interpretation of "nervousness" among rural residents. Cad. Saúde Pública [online]. 2004, vol.20, n.6, pp.1515-1524. ISSN 1678-4464.

Occupational exposure to pesticides has a strong impact on Public Health in Brazil, since the country is one of the world's largest pesticide consumers. Harm to the rural population is reflected in high pesticide poisoning and case-fatality rates. The present paper focuses on the perspective of health professionals working in districts 5 and 7 of the Municipality of Nova Friburgo, Rio de Janeiro State, in the Family Health Program, concerning rural residents' complaints of "nervousness", verifying (1) whether health professionals perceive a link between "nervousness" and symptoms of pesticide poisoning, (2) the implications of their understanding on the reporting of work-related illnesses, and (3) medication for "nervousness" (use of tranquilizers) as a potential factor of social accommodation (as occurs elsewhere in urban groups) and as a potential cause of dual poisoning among workers exposed to pesticides. The methodology included interviews, participant observation, field notes, and consultation of previous studies in the area. The study highlights health professionals' discourse in relation to the association between "nervousness" and pesticides. The authors discuss factors related to this perception and make several suggestions for future research.

Keywords : Pesticides; Occupational Health; Agriculture; Pesticide Exposure.

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