Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease in Farmers: A Systematic Review

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Objective:Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a significant public health problem but it is unclear whether agricultural work causes an increased risk of disease. The aim of this review was to study COPD risk among farmers and analyze occupational exposures in agricultural workplaces.Methods:A systematic literature search was conducted to identify epidemiological studies investigating COPD prevalence in farmers.Results:In the 14 studies reviewed, COPD prevalence ranged from 3% to 68% due to different characteristics of study population, working activities, case definition/diagnosis. Livestock farmers were at higher risk and significant associations were observed for exposure to organic dusts, endotoxins, mites, ammonia, and hydrogen sulfide.Conclusions:Farming work was associated with greater risk of developing COPD. However, considering the several variables that may influence the disease prevalence in farmers, we suggest the adoption of a standardized research strategy.

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