Health symptoms and exposure to organophosphate pesticides in farmworkers

Authors

  • Larkin L. Strong MPH,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Health Services, School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington
    2. Cancer Prevention Research Program, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, Washington
    • P.O. Box 19024, 1100 Fairview Ave. N; M3-B232, Seattle, WA 98109.
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  • Beti Thompson PhD,

    1. Department of Health Services, School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington
    2. Cancer Prevention Research Program, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, Washington
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  • Gloria D. Coronado PhD,

    1. Cancer Prevention Research Program, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, Washington
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  • William C. Griffith PhD,

    1. Department of Environmental Health, School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington
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  • Eric M. Vigoren MS,

    1. Department of Environmental Health, School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington
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  • Ilda Islas

    1. Department of Health Services, School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington
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  • This research has not been subjected to either agency's required peer and policy review and therefore does not necessarily reflect the views of either agency and no official endorsement should be inferred.

Abstract

Background

Few studies have examined the relationship between reported health symptoms and exposure to organophosphate (OP) pesticides.

Methods

Fisher's exact test was used to assess the relationship between self-reported health symptoms and indicators of exposure to OP pesticides in 211 farmworkers in Eastern Washington.

Results

The health symptoms most commonly reported included headaches (50%), burning eyes (39%), pain in muscles, joints, or bones (35%), a rash or itchy skin (25%), and blurred vision (23%). Exposure to pesticides was prevalent. The proportion of detectable samples of various pesticide residues in house and vehicle dust was weakly associated with reporting certain health symptoms, particularly burning eyes and shortness of breath. No significant associations were found between reporting health symptoms and the proportion of detectable urinary pesticide metabolites.

Conclusions

Certain self-reported health symptoms in farmworkers may be associated with indicators of exposure to pesticides. Longitudinal studies with more precise health symptom data are needed to explore this relationship further. Am. J. Ind. Med. 46:599–606, 2004. © 2004 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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