Pesticide exposure in Chile and population health: urgency for decision making

Zúñiga-Venegas, Liliana; Saracini, Chiara; Pancetti, Floria; Muñoz-Quezada, María Teresa; Lucero, Boris; Foerster, Claudia; Cortés, Sandra

Keywords: chile, children, women, pesticides, Agricultural workers


In the last 25 years, Chile has had an expanding role as an agro-export country in the global economy, with efficient rates of productivity in the region, based on the technological development of agriculture, with of large monocultures whose productivity depends on the intensive application of agrochemicals. This form of agriculture has also lacked efficient regulations and surveillance, so it is difficult to estimate the real magnitude of the exposed population and its effects on health in the short or long term. This systematic review compiles the epidemiological evidence generated from studies conducted in several regions of Chile regarding pesticide exposure and health effects. Of the total number of articles, 50% included agricultural workers, 25% children, and 25% women of childbearing age, with the greatest effects being the neurotoxic (54%), genotoxic (31%) and reproductive (15%). The evidence collected shows that in Chile the levels of exposure to pesticides in the general and occupational population are higher than international studies levels. It is urgent to protect the health of both the occupational and general population and especially children through a stricter control of the sale and use of pesticides, with comprehensive surveillance systems in environmental health and educational actions in the social and cultural context of rural communities. It is a priority to strengthen research with national relevance on health effects, and strictly restrict the use of pesticides already prohibited in developed countries due to their high level of risk to human and environmental health.

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Título de la Revista: Gaceta Sanitaria
Fecha de publicación: 2020