The shrimp-farming agrobusiness in the municipal district of Aracati, Ceará, Brazil: labour process and risks to worker's health

Francisca Neuma Almeida Nogueira Raquel Maria Rigotto Ana Cláudia de Araújo Teixeira About the authors

Although shrimp-farming is of well-known importance within the agrobusiness market, several studies pointed out its negative impacts on workers, environment and its uncontrolled use of natural resources. This study analysed shrimp-farming companies located in the municipal district of Aracati, in Ceará state, Brazil, identifying interrelations among productive processes, environment and workers' health, and analyzing their implications for the environment and workers' health. The research methodology followed three phases: connection with the concrete work on shrimp-farming, study of productive processes and discourse analysis. Results indicated that the 16 local shrimp-farming industries employed 1.154 workers from 2005 to 2006. Workers' profile indicated a predominance of male gender, concentrated in the age group from 22 to 30 years. The work process, generally, exposed workers to long workdays, to intense physical effort and inadequate postures, to infra-red and ultraviolet radiation, to inhalation of sodium metabisulfit and of the gases resulting from its dilution in water - with one registered case of death among those workers due to acute pulmonary edema. The environmental alterations have been leading to the reduction of native species in the swamp, and to the salinization of the municipal district water reservations.

shrimp-farming; labor process; worker's health

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