Occupational exposure to pesticides and associated health effects among greenhouse farm workers

Patrick Amoatey, Ahmed Al-Mayahi, Hamid Omidvarborna, Mahad Said Baawain*, Hameed Sulaiman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


The number and production capacities of greenhouse farms have been increased across the globe, driven by an effort for addressing food security problems related to the rapid population growth and the effects of climate change. As a result, there was a large increase in the number of greenhouse farm workers who are typically involved in chemical preparations and pesticide sprayings, crop harvesting, and greenhouse maintenance activities. Considering the enclosed architecture of the greenhouse farm design and the frequent application of pesticides, the objective of this review was to characterize pesticide exposure levels and resultant health effects among greenhouse farm workers. While most health assessment studies were mainly based on self-reported symptoms, this review showed limited epidemiological and clinical studies on the assessment of the health effects of pesticide exposure on greenhouse workers’ health. Reproductive disorders, respiratory symptoms, neurological symptoms, and skin irritations were the most reported health effects among greenhouse farm workers. Additionally, there were limited studies on respirable pesticide-borne fine and ultrafine particulate matters in greenhouse farms. Ventilation systems and indoor environmental conditions of greenhouse farms were not designed according to specifications of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). Among recommendations provided, long-term exposure assessments of pesticide effects on children born by greenhouse farm workers should be considered in future research. Also, compliance with ASHRAE indoor ventilation and environmental standards will be very important in reducing pesticide exposure and health effects among greenhouse farm workers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22251-22270
Number of pages20
JournalEnvironmental Science and Pollution Research
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2020


  • Greenhouse farms
  • Health effects
  • Indoor environmental quality
  • Occupational exposure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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