Introduction The importance of coffee to the country can be verified by the Brazilian leadership in world production and export, as well as being the second largest consumer of the product in the world (MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE, 2017). The literature shows that coffee processing workers are subject to a higher prevalence of respiratory problems. However, little is known about the respiratory health of coffee plantation workers.
Methods A case-control study was carried out, whose sample was obtained by convenience sampling in four coffee farms in the region of Lavras/MG. The data were obtained by means of a questionnaire, occupational history collection, qualitative evaluation of work environments, spirometry and measurement of exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO).
Results 63 workers were evaluated (median age 43 years/tillage time 11 years). The general population has a chronic cough rate of 3.1%, wheezing of 23.5% and dyspnea (MRC1) of 36.9% (PLATINO, 2006). In this study, coffee farmers had a higher prevalence only in the cough, rate of 6.6%. This symptom was also found among coffee plantation workers in Tanzania (23%) and also in Uganda in the Arabica and Robusta coffee factories. The group of workers also presented a tendency to lower values of FEV1 and still higher values of FeNO, but without reaching statistical significance. This finding was also found in another study in coffee plantations in Tanzania in which a rate of 13% FeNO above 25 ppb was observed among workers.
Conclusion Due to the importance of coffee for the Brazilian economy and the significant number of coffee workers, new studies with larger samples are necessary to verify the hypothesis and to guide health and preventive actions regarding respiratory problems in these workers
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