Climate Change, Heat Stress, Farmer, Farmworker, agricultural worker, global warming, heat exposure, occupational health
Environmental Public Health | Occupational Health and Industrial Hygiene
Due to the continuous rise of global temperatures and heatwaves worldwide as a result of climate change, concerns for the health and safety of working populations have increased. Workers in the food production chain, particularly farmworkers, are especially vulnerable to heat stress due to the strenuous nature of their work, which is performed primarily outdoors under poor working conditions. At the cross-section of climate change and farmworkers' health, a scoping review was undertaken to summarize the existing knowledge regarding the health impacts associated with climate change and heat stress, guide future research toward better understanding current and future climate change risks, and inform policies to protect the health and safety of agricultural workers. A systematic search of 5 electronic databases and gray literature websites was conducted to identify relevant literature published up until December 2021. A total of 9045 records were retrieved from the searches, of which 92 articles were included in the final review. The majority of the reviewed articles focused on heat-related illnesses (n = 57) and kidney diseases (n = 28). The risk factors identified in the reviewed studies included gender, dehydration, heat strain, wearing inappropriate clothing, workload, piece-rate payment, job decision latitude, and hot environmental conditions. On the other hand, various protective and preventive factors were identified including drinking water, changing work hours and schedule of activities, wearing appropriate clothing, reducing soda consumption, taking breaks in shaded or air-conditioned areas, and increasing electrolyte consumption in addition to improving access to medical care. This review also identified various factors that are unique to vulnerable agricultural populations, including migrant and child farmworkers. Our findings call for an urgent need to expand future research on vulnerable agricultural communities including migrant workers so as to develop effective policies and interventions that can protect these communities from the effects of heat stress.
Frontiers in Public Health
El Khayat, Halwani, D. A., Hneiny, L., Alameddine, I., Haidar, M. A., & Habib, R. R. (2022). Impacts of Climate Change and Heat Stress on Farmworkers’ Health: A Scoping Review. Frontiers in Public Health., 10. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpubh.2022.782811