Current health effects of agricultural work: Respiratory disease, cancer, reproductive effects, musculoskeletal injuries, and pesticide-related illnesses

Steven R. Kirkhorn, Marc B Schenker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

57 Scopus citations


Agriculture has experienced major bio-technological advances and economic and socio-cultural disruptions since the publication of "Agriculture at Risk" in 1988. At that time, it was recognized that there were acute needs in the prevention of musculoskeletal syndromes and injuries, agricultural respiratory disease, noise-induced hearing loss, pesticide-related illnesses, and concerns regarding the excesses of cancers noted in epidemiological studies of farmers. In this article, we discuss the progress made in identification of new respiratory syndromes related to confined animal feeding operations, pesticide-related illnesses, cancers implicating agricultural exposures, and ergonomics in agriculture. The focus is on the current state of knowledge in these areas, the author's recommendations for further improvement in research techniques, and the potential application of this information to improve human health in production agriculture nationwide.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)199-214
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Agricultural Safety and Health
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2002
Externally publishedYes



  • Agricultural health
  • Agricultural respiratory disease
  • Agriculture
  • Animal confinement
  • Cancer
  • Confined animal feeding operations
  • Endotoxin
  • Ergonomics
  • Occupational health
  • Organic dusts
  • Pesticide-related illnesses
  • Pesticides
  • Respiratory disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality

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