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Health and environment in the rubber-tree plantations in the Bolivian Acre (1870-1903): the role of exogenous factors and processes

Domingos José de Almeida Neto Léo Heller About the authors

A peculiar situation marks the conditions of human and environmental health in the first major cycle of rubber production in the Acre region of the Western Amazon, whereby the bulk of the boom (1870-1903) occurred in the territory that at that time still belonged to Bolivia. Based on this historical background, this work seeks to describe and comprehend how these factors and processes, which are exogenous to these two fields of analysis mediated the risks that originated in the environment, gave rise to sickness and death in the population of the "Brazilian" rubber-tree plantations established in Bolivian territory. In this manner, the inter-relations between health and environment linked to historically specific configurations of the physical-natural, socioeconomic, political, and cultural conditions, are examined. The work shows that these extrinsic factors and processes to the productive activities exerted an influence not only on its organizational but also functional aspects, while also resulting in the unhealthy conditions observed in the productive regions. It further highlights the fact that the extant infrastructure of the time was sufficient for extractive production and reproduction.

Environmental health; Sanitation; Rubber-latex; Sickness; Risk

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