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Cadernos de Saúde Pública

On-line version ISSN 1678-4464


PORTO, Marcelo Firpo de Souza; JUNCA, Denise Chrysóstomo de Moura; GONCALVES, Raquel de Souza  and  FILHOTE, Maria Izabel de Freitas. Garbage, work, and health: a case study of garbage pickers at the metropolitan landfill in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Cad. Saúde Pública [online]. 2004, vol.20, n.6, pp.1503-1514. ISSN 1678-4464.

This article presents the results of a study on the lives, work, and health conditions of garbage pickers in the largest metropolitan landfill in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Using a semi-structured questionnaire with open-ended and closed questions, the study interviewed these individuals and developed a discussion of their daily lives, work, and health conditions. According to a quantitative-qualitative analysis, the garbage pickers identified garbage as a source of survival and defined health simply as the ability to work. They thus tended to neglect the relationship between work and health. However, the risks and reported morbidity highlighted the hazardous nature of this activity, aggravated by their living and housing conditions. Finally, the article emphasizes the importance of establishing public policies that integrate different dimensions of the problem, such as social inclusion, environmental preservation, public health, and the dignity of these workers.

Keywords : Garbage; Occupational Health; Working Conditions.

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