Skin Problems among Users of the Urine-Based Fertiliser in Ouagadougou Periurban Areas, Burkina Faso: A Prospective Study


The great challenge for the sustainable use of excreta (urine, faeces) in agriculture is to increase the benefits of these products as resources and decrease the negative effects on human health. The risk of gastrointestinal diseases associated with the use of human excreta as natural fertilisers is well established, while information on skin problems remains largely anecdotal. The objective of this study was to evaluate the prevalence of skin problems among people involved in the handling of the urine used as fertiliser along a productive sanitation system in Ouagadougou periurban areas. A questionnaire was used for each targeted worker to collect data on sociodemographic characteristics, conditions of work and reported health symptoms such as skin burning, itching, eye irritation and paronychia. The exposure measurements were essentially based on field observations. A total of 435 people were interviewed, including 45 workers in urine storage sites, 209 farmers using urine-based fertiliser and 181 control farmers. More than 35% of site workers reported skin symptoms. For farmers using urine-based fertiliser and their controls, 17.2% and 26.0% reported skin symptoms, respectively. Overall, the associations between skin symptoms and the handling of urine used as fertiliser were almost significant (P < 0.06). Also, the study showed that these skin symptoms reported by the urine handlers are associated with conditions of work. Effective preventive measures such as wearing suitable protective equipment and practicing good personal hygiene should be emphasized. This topic needs to be further examined using longitudinal studies.

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Makaya, J. , Aho, S. , Wethé, J. , Dianou, D. , Barro, N. and Traoré, A. (2014) Skin Problems among Users of the Urine-Based Fertiliser in Ouagadougou Periurban Areas, Burkina Faso: A Prospective Study. Open Journal of Safety Science and Technology, 4, 178-186. doi: 10.4236/ojsst.2014.44019.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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