227768 Occupational Health Problems Among Nutmeg Production Workers: A case from Grenada, The Caribbean

Wednesday, November 10, 2010 : 11:15 AM - 11:30 AM

Muge Akpinar-Elci, MD, MPH , Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, St George's University, St George's, Grenada
Satesh Bidaisee, DVM, MSPH , Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, St. George's University, School of Medicine, St. George's, Grenada
Shantel Peters, MPH , Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, St. George's University, School of Medicine, St. George's, Grenada
Joseph Byonanebye, MPH , Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, St. George's University, School of Medicine, St George, Grenada
Omur Cinar Elci, MD, PhD, FRSPH , St George's University, St George's, Grenada
Rationale: The nutmeg industry is one of the major contributors towards the Grenadian economy and directly serves as a source of employment for a significant portion of the population. Before Hurricane Ivan in 2004, nutmeg accounted for 80% of Grenada's agricultural export. The goal of this study was therefore to investigate the possible occupational risk factors and health problems among workers. Method: In this cross-sectional study, we administered validated questionnaires including sections for demographics, occupational history, and health problems. Eighty seven workers completed the questionnaire which corresponded to a participation rate is 93.6%. We also evaluated the workplace. Study procedures were approved by Institutional Review Board. Results: The nutmeg processing includes sorting, cracking, the water test, grading by size, and storage. The following occupational risks were identified during to work place evaluation; dust, pesticide, and mold exposure, ergonomic problems, fire hazard and sanitary problems. Workers were mostly female (77%) and nonsmoker (83.9%) with a mean age of 47.211.4 years. Fifty-six percent of the workers are involved in the cracking and sorting of nutmegs. The most common symptoms were lower back pain (81.2%) and dry cough (49.4%). Forty six percent of workers believed that their musculoskeletal problems related with their current job. Especially cracking/sorting workers had statistically significant high prevalence of shoulder pain (2= 7.155,p<0.05) and work-related wheezing (2=3.849,p<0.05). Conclusion: Occupational health problems remarkably high among nutmeg process workers. The plant uses an old technology that limits the economic benefits and increases occupational risks for workers.

Learning Areas:
Environmental health sciences
Epidemiology
Occupational health and safety
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
1.Describe occupational health problems and public health outcomes of working conditions in the occupational environment. 2.Define possible occupational risk factors and determinants of occupational health for a given population.

Keywords: Occupational Health, Occupational Disease

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the principal investigator in this project.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.