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P070 A public health perspective on child labour
  1. David Parker
  1. HealthPartners, Minneapolis, USA


Background Children’s work that is harmful, hazardous and carried out in poor working conditions can create, exacerbate or perpetuate an intergenerational cycle of poverty, malnutrition and social disadvantage. Early and inappropriate child work, complicated by illiteracy, can lead to a broader deterioration of public health. An examination of work in the context of ILO Convention 182 must take into account both the conditions of the workplace as well as the social situation in which it takes place. Silicosis is likely a highly prevalent problem that is exacerbated by tuberculosis.

Methods This presentation will illustrate hazardous work in brick kilns and stone quarries. It will be illustrated using photographs taken by the presenter during the last 10 years. Work will illustrate the importance of considering both the short-and long-term consequences of hazardous exposures to children. Silicosis and silico-tuberculosis will be used as illustrative examples.

Results Children are commonly found in brick factories, granite quarries, and granite crushing facilities, all of which are permeated with silica dust. All have been described as placing workers at significant risk of developing silicosis. In granite crushing facilities the prevalence of silicosis may be as high as 75 percent.

Conclusion The dose response relationship between level of exposure and the development of silicosis appears to be linear with silicosis developing within a few months or over a lifetime. The changes that occur with silicosis are most likely if the onset of exposure is at a relatively early age and exposure continues. Even after exposure to silica stops the disease may progress. Individuals who begin work at an early age are likely to suffer from silicosis at a correspondingly early age.

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