In Brazil, tanning animal hides is an important economic activity and employ more than 400 thousands workers. There are some occupational riskis in this work process, such as chemical and physical agents, ergonomics, etc. This study aims to make a literature review on tanneries and occupational health.Methods
The review used BIREME – BVS database to find articles searched using keywords ‘tannery’. We found 759 documents but 480 were excluded because do not provide full open access. From 279 results, we selected 35 which presented ‘occupational exposure’ and ‘occupational disease’ keywords. Only one were in Portuguese language.Result
The productive process can be divided into three major phases: initial (called ‘ribeira’ in Portuguese), tannery and post-tannery, each with its predominant risks and diseases. The diseases of tanning workers described in the articles were dermatitis (irritatives and atopics) resulting from contact with chemical products used (alkalis, humectants, sulfides, chlorides, whitewash, ammonium salts, chromium III salts and hexavalents, fungicides, dyes), genetic changes linked to chromium use, occupational asthma, and various types of cancer, such as: mouth, pharynx, bladder, kidney, prostate, pancreas, soft tissues sarcomas, and some cases of myeloma.Discussion
The work of tanning is carried out, mainly, in countries with less time of industrialization and/or that are little attentive to the prevention of the workers exposure to the occupational risks to health. Faced with the socio-economic relevance of the sector ‘Leathers’, it is concluded that the literature is sparse in regards to the tanneries and occupational health issue.