Effects of Occupational Exposure on the Health of Rag Pickers Due to Fungal Contamination at Waste Dumping Sites in Gwalior (India)

Harandra K. Sharma, Khurheed Ahmad Wani, Aakash Ahmad Bhat


We investigated fungal contamination near different waste dumping sites and assessed the health risk factors of rag pickers associated with collection of waste in Gwalior during the year 2014-15. Petri plates were exposed at waste dumping sites and were transferred to the laboratory, analysis and identification was mainly carried out by culturing the fungal colonies by following standard procedures. A pretested questionnaire was used to evaluate the health problems among the rag pickers. Results indicated that all the dumping sites are contaminated with different types of fungal pathogens like Alternaria alternate, Aspergillus flavus, A. fumigates, A. niger, Cladosporium, Fusarium, Mucor, Penicillium and Rhizopus. Our study reported higher incidence of musculoskeletal and respiratory diseases among rag pickers. There is also strong need for carrying out similar assessment studies for other cities too. This will entail generation of more precise site specific information regarding fungal species and associated health risk factor.


Fungal Contamination, Waste, Health, Rag Pickers, Gwalior

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Iranian Journal of Health, Safety and Environment e-ISSN: :2345-5535 Iran university of Medical sciences, Tehran, Iran