Pesticide Exposure and Health Problems Among Female Horticulture Workers in Tanzania.
ABSTRACT: Commercialization of horticulture farming, expansion of farms, and the practice of monoculture favor the proliferation of pests, which in turn increases the need for pesticides. Increased exposure to pesticides is associated with inadequate knowledge on the hazardous nature of pesticides, poor hygiene practices, lack of availability of washing facilities, and insufficient adherence to precautionary instructions on pesticide labels. Mitigating the risks posed by pesticides is considered a less compelling interest than alleviating poverty. Women working in horticulture in Tanzania usually have low levels of education and income and lack decision-making power even on matters relating to their own health. This contributes to pesticide exposure and other health challenges. Because of multiple factors, some of which act as study confounders, few studies on exposure to pesticides and health effects have been conducted among women. This review identified factors that contribute to the increased health effects among women working in the horticultural industry and how these effects relate to pesticide exposure.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Pesticide use is increasing in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) including Costa Rica. This increase poses health risks to farm owners, farm workers, and communities living near agricultural farms. OBJECTIVE:We aimed to examine the health effects associated with occupational pesticide exposure in farm owners and workers from conventional and organic smallholder farms in Costa Rica. METHODS:We conducted a cross-sectional study involving 300 owners and workers from organic and conventional horticultural smallholder farms in Zarcero County, Costa Rica. During the baseline study visit, we administered a structured, tablet-based questionnaire to collect data on sociodemographic characteristics, pesticide exposure, and health conditions (eg, respiratory and allergic outcomes and acute pesticide intoxication symptoms) and administered a neurobehavioral test battery (eg, Finger Tapping Test and Purdue Pegboard); we measured blood pressure, anthropometry (height, weight, and waist circumference), and erythrocytic acetylcholinesterase activity and also collected urine samples. In addition, a functional neuroimaging assessment using near-infrared spectroscopy was conducted with a subset of 50 study participants. During the follow-up study visit (~2-4 weeks after the baseline), we administered participants a short questionnaire on recent pesticide exposure and farming practices and collected hair, toenail, and urine samples. Urine samples will be analyzed for various pesticide metabolites, whereas toenails and hair will be analyzed for manganese (Mn), a biomarker of exposure to Mn-containing fungicides. Self-reported pesticide exposure data will be used to develop exposure intensity scores using an exposure algorithm. Furthermore, exposure-outcome associations will be examined using linear and logistic mixed-effects regression models. RESULTS:Fieldwork for our study was conducted between May 2016 and August 2016. In total, 113 farm owners and 187 workers from 9 organic and 83 conventional horticultural smallholder farms were enrolled. Data analyses are ongoing and expected to be published between 2019 and 2020. CONCLUSIONS:This study is one of the first to examine differences in health effects due to pesticide exposure between farm owners and workers from organic and conventional smallholder farms in an LMIC. We expect that this study will provide critical data on farming practices, exposure pathways, and how occupational exposure to pesticides may affect farm owners and workers' health. Finally, we hope that this study will allow us to identify strategies to reduce pesticide exposure in farm owners and workers and will potentially lay the groundwork for a future longitudinal study of health outcomes in farm owners and workers exposed to pesticides. INTERNATIONAL REGISTERED REPORT IDENTIFIER (IRRID):DERR1-10.2196/10914.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Depression in women is a public health problem. Studies have reported positive associations between pesticides and depression, but few studies were prospective or presented results for women separately. OBJECTIVES:We evaluated associations between pesticide exposure and incident depression among farmers' wives in the Agricultural Health Study, a prospective cohort study in Iowa and North Carolina. METHODS:We used data on 16,893 wives who did not report physician-diagnosed depression at enrollment (1993-1997) and who completed a follow-up telephone interview (2005-2010). Among these wives, 1054 reported physician diagnoses of depression at follow-up. We collected information on potential confounders and on ever use of any pesticide, 11 functional and chemical classes of pesticides, and 50 specific pesticides by wives and their husbands via self-administered questionnaires at enrollment. We used inverse probability weighting to adjust for potential confounders and to account for possible selection bias induced by the death or loss of 10,639 wives during follow-up. We used log-binomial regression models to estimate risk ratios and 95% confidence intervals. RESULTS:After weighting for age at enrollment, state of residence, education level, diabetes diagnosis, and drop out, wives' incident depression was positively associated with diagnosed pesticide poisoning, but was not associated with ever using any pesticide. Use of individual pesticides or functional or chemical classes of pesticides was generally not associated with wives' depression. Among wives who never used pesticides, husbands' ever use of individual pesticides or functional or chemical classes of pesticides was generally not associated with wives' incident depression. CONCLUSIONS:Our study adds further evidence that high level pesticide exposure, such as pesticide poisoning, is associated with increased risk of depression and sets a lower bound on the level of exposure related to depression, thereby providing reassurance that the moderate levels of pesticide exposure experienced by farmers' wives likely do not increase risk.
Project description:Women living in agricultural areas may experience high pesticide exposures compared with women in urban or suburban areas because of their proximity to farm activities.Our objective was to review the evidence in the published literature for the contribution of nonoccupational pathways of pesticide exposure in women living in North American agricultural areas.We evaluated the following nonoccupational exposure pathways: paraoccupational (i.e., take-home or bystander exposure), agricultural drift, residential pesticide use, and dietary ingestion. We also evaluated the role of hygiene factors (e.g., house cleaning, shoe removal).Among 35 publications identified (published 1995-2013), several reported significant or suggestive (p < 0.1) associations between paraoccupational (n = 19) and agricultural drift (n = 10) pathways and pesticide dust or biomarker levels, and 3 observed that residential use was associated with pesticide concentrations in dust. The 4 studies related to ingestion reported low detection rates of most pesticides in water; additional studies are needed to draw conclusions about the importance of this pathway. Hygiene factors were not consistently linked to exposure among the 18 relevant publications identified.Evidence supported the importance of paraoccupational, drift, and residential use pathways. Disentangling exposure pathways was difficult because agricultural populations are concurrently exposed to pesticides via multiple pathways. Most evidence was based on measurements of pesticides in residential dust, which are applicable to any household member and are not specific to women. An improved understanding of nonoccupational pesticide exposure pathways in women living in agricultural areas is critical for studying health effects in women and for designing effective exposure-reduction strategies.
Project description:More than 11 million Thai people (38%) work in agriculture, but since most are in the informal sector, government enforcement and support are very limited. As a result, working conditions on Thai farms vary greatly, putting the health of many agricultural workers at risk. A cross-sectional study in three Thai provinces collected information on the work activities and conditions of 424 farmers representing five farm types: rice, vegetable, flower, rice/vegetable, and flower/vegetable. The agricultural workers were mainly women (60%); their average age was 53 but ranged from 18 to 87 years. More than 64% worked more than 5 days/week. Seventy-four percent of them had only primary school education. A number of the health and hazardous working conditions surveyed were significantly different by farm type. Rice farmers were found to have the highest prevalence of allergies, nasal congestion, wheezing, and acute symptoms after pesticide use, while flower farmers had the lowest prevalence of these health outcomes. Rice farmers reported the highest prevalence of hazardous working conditions including high noise levels, working on slippery surfaces, sitting or standing on a vibrating machine, spills of chemicals/pesticides, and sharp injuries. The lowest prevalence of these working conditions (except noise) was reported by flower farmers. Vegetable farmers reported the highest prevalence knee problems, while rice farmers had the lowest prevalence. Among these farmers, more than 27 different types of pesticides were reported in use during the past year, with the majority reporting use once a month. The flower/vegetable farming group reported the highest frequency of good exposure prevention practices during pesticide use. They were the most likely to report using cotton or rubber gloves or a disposable paper masks during insecticide spraying. Those farmers who only grew vegetables had the lowest frequency of good exposure prevention practices, including use of personal protective equipment. The economic cost of work-related injuries and illnesses among informal sector agricultural workers in Thailand is unknown and in need of study. Gaps in the regulations covering pesticide sales allow farmers to purchase pesticides without adequate training in their safe use. Training targeted to farm type regarding safe pesticide use and the prevention of accidents and musculoskeletal disorders is needed. Studies of chronic health effects among Thai farmers are needed, with special emphasis on respiratory, metabolic disease and cancer.
Project description:An estimated 200,000 children born in Thailand each year are at risk of prenatal exposure to pesticides and associated neurodevelopmental outcomes because of their mothers' agricultural occupations. Children born to non-agricultural workers may also be at risk of exposure from other pathways of maternal pesticide exposure, including exposure through home use, diet, and other environmental media. Pesticide exposure in Thailand has been linked to unsafe practices and beliefs about pesticides. However, limited information exists on pesticide knowledge, attitudes, and practices among pregnant women in Thailand or elsewhere. Obtaining this information is essential to understand the factors associated with prenatal pesticide exposure, identify populations potentially at risk, and ultimately protect pregnant women and their children. We administered surveys to 76 pregnant women in northern Thailand and used multivariable logistic regression to evaluate associations among pesticide-related knowledge, pregnancy trimester, and pesticide use behavior. In this pilot study, lower knowledge score and earliest trimester of pregnancy were marginally (p < 0.1) associated with unsafe practices in the home, but not at work. Women who worked in agriculture or applied pesticides before becoming pregnant, or who had a previous child were significantly (p < 0.05) more likely to engage in unsafe behaviors in the home during their current pregnancy. We preliminarily conclude that increasing pesticide-related knowledge among pregnant women may help promote safe practices and reduce prenatal exposure. Knowledge-based interventions may be most effective when implemented early in pregnancy and targeted to agricultural workers and other sub-populations at risk of pesticide exposure.
Project description:Pesticide-exposed adolescents may have a higher risk of neurotoxic effects because of their developing brains and bodies. However, only a limited number of studies have addressed this risk among adolescents. The aim of this study was to compare neurological outcomes from two cohorts of Egyptian adolescents working as pesticide applicators. In 2005 and 2009, two cohorts of male adolescents working as pesticide applicators for the cotton crop were recruited from Menoufia Governorate, Egypt. The same application schedule and pesticides were used at both times, including both organophosphorus, and pyrethroid compounds. Participants in both cohorts completed three neurobehavioral tests, health and exposure questionnaires, and medical and neurological screening examinations. In addition, blood samples were collected to measure butyryl cholinesterase (BChE) activity. Pesticide applicators in both cohorts reported more neurological symptoms and signs than non-applicators, particularly among participants in the 2005 cohort (OR ranged from 1.18 to 15.3). Except for one test (Trail Making B), there were no significant differences between either applicators or non-applicators of both cohorts on the neurobehavioral outcome measures (p > 0.05). The 2005 cohort showed greater inhibition of serum BChE activity than the 2009 cohort (p < 0.05). In addition, participants with depressed BChE activity showed more symptoms and signs than others without BChE depression (p < 0.05). Our study is the first to examine the consistency of health outcomes associated with pesticide exposure across two cohorts tested at different times from the same geographical region in rural Egypt. This similar pattern of findings across the two cohorts provides strong evidence of the health impact of exposure of adolescents to pesticides.
Project description:With thousands of pesticides registered by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, it not feasible to sample for all pesticides applied in agricultural communities. Hazard-ranking pesticides based on use, toxicity, and exposure potential can help prioritize community-specific pesticide hazards. This study applied hazard-ranking schemes for cancer, endocrine disruption, and reproductive/developmental toxicity in Yuma County, Arizona. An existing cancer hazard-ranking scheme was modified, and novel schemes for endocrine disruption and reproductive/developmental toxicity were developed to rank pesticide hazards. The hazard-ranking schemes accounted for pesticide use, toxicity, and exposure potential based on chemical properties of each pesticide. Pesticides were ranked as hazards with respect to each health effect, as well as overall chronic health effects. The highest hazard-ranked pesticides for overall chronic health effects were maneb, metam-sodium, trifluralin, pronamide, and bifenthrin. The relative pesticide rankings were unique for each health effect. The highest hazard-ranked pesticides differed from those most heavily applied, as well as from those previously detected in Yuma homes over a decade ago. The most hazardous pesticides for cancer in Yuma County, Arizona were also different from a previous hazard-ranking applied in California. Hazard-ranking schemes that take into account pesticide use, toxicity, and exposure potential can help prioritize pesticides of greatest health risk in agricultural communities. This study is the first to provide pesticide hazard-rankings for endocrine disruption and reproductive/developmental toxicity based on use, toxicity, and exposure potential. These hazard-ranking schemes can be applied to other agricultural communities for prioritizing community-specific pesticide hazards to target decreasing health risk.
Project description:In areas where malaria is endemic, pesticides are widely deployed for vector control, which has contributed to reductions in malaria deaths. Pesticide use for agrarian purposes reduces pest populations, thus improving crop production and post-harvest losses. However, adverse health effects have been associated with pesticide exposure, ranging from skin irritation to neurotoxicity and carcinogenicity. Though misuse of these pesticides can lead to widespread potential dangers, the debilitating effects are usually underappreciated in many developing countries. To evaluate the pattern of pesticide usage among rural communities in the Kintampo area of Ghana, a cross-sectional survey was conducted among 1455 heads of households randomly sampled from among 29,073 households in the Kintampo Health and Demographic Surveillance System area of Ghana to estimate the prevalence of pesticide use and indications for use among this rural populace. Seventy-one percent (1040/1455) of household heads reported having used pesticides on either their farms or homes, most commonly for control of weeds (96.4%, 1003/1040) or insects (85.4%, 888/1040). Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) was used by 22.9% (238/1040) of respondents. The majority of households who reported use of pesticides said women in their households assisted in the spraying efforts (69.3%, 721/1040); of these women, 50.8% (366/721) did so while carrying their babies on their backs. Only 28.9% (301/1040) of the study participants wore protective devices during pesticide applications. Frequent symptoms that were reported after spraying, included cough (32.3%; 336/1040), difficulty in breathing (26.7%; 278/1040) and skin irritation (39.0%; 406/1040). Pesticide use among community members in the Kintampo area of Ghana is common and its potential health impacts warrant further investigation.
Project description:Farming and pesticide exposure may influence risk of rheumatoid arthritis (RA); the role of early-life pesticide exposure is unknown. The Sister Study includes a US national cohort of women aged 35-74 years (enrolled 2004-2009); we examined childhood pesticide exposure in women in this cohort with adult-onset RA. Cases (n = 424) were compared with 48,919 noncases. Data included pesticide use at the longest childhood residence through age 14 years, farm residence of at least 12 months with agricultural pesticide exposure through age 18 years, and maternal farm experience. Odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals were adjusted for age, race or ethnicity, education, smoking, and childhood socioeconomic factors. Cases with RA reported more frequent and direct (personal) residential pesticide use in childhood (for infrequent/indirect pesticide use, odds ratio (OR) = 1.1; for frequent/direct use, OR = 1.8; P for trend = 0.013). Compared with women without residential farm history, odds of having RA increased for those reporting a childhood-only farm residence with personal exposure to pesticides used on crops (OR = 1.8, 95% confidence interval: 1.1, 2.9) or livestock (OR = 2.0, 95% confidence interval: 1.2, 3.3). Our findings suggest adult-onset RA may be related to childhood exposure to residential and agricultural pesticides, and support further investigations of lifetime pesticide use in RA.
Project description:Agriculture accounts for 20% of the national income in the Philippines. In order to boost agricultural activity and prevent crop damage, farmers rely on pesticides for vector control and management. The present study assessed the pesticide exposure and occupational health of agricultural farmers in the Philippines. The study site is one of the largest vegetable-producing provinces in the Philippines. This study employed both a survey questionnaire and physical health assessment, including a mental state examination. Pesticide exposure was estimated based on the duration of pesticide use, as well as the amount per spray application. The data results were segregated by gender, as women are also heavily engaged in agriculture in this part of the Philippines. The results showed that pesticide exposure usually occurred during agricultural activities such as spray applications in the field (63.7%), mixing (38.4%), loading (34.1%) and field re-entry (9.7%). The most frequently used pesticides were Tamaron, Selecron, and Dithane. The mean duration of pesticide exposure was 14.23 years for males and 15.4 years for females. The longest used pesticide among males was Sumicidine (16.2 years), and Tamaron for females (18 years). In terms of amount used, the average was 147 ml per spray application for males and 65.5 ml for females. Exposure to pesticides was expressed in number of years and amount used per spray application, and the average exposure of males was 2,024.43 ml/years and 993.55 ml/years for females. Among farmers, 49% complained of being sick due to their work. Of those who became ill, a large percentage (69.8%) did not receive any medical attention. The most prevalent health symptoms were muscle pains (63.3%), muscle weakness (55%), and easy fatigability (52.4%). For the mini-mental state examination, abnormalities were found in 5.4% of males and 13.3% of females. The use of insecticides was associated with weakness, easy fatigability and weight loss. The present study demonstrated frequent and significant duration of pesticide use among farmers in Benguet province, Philippines. Pesticide exposure was considerable among the farmers in the present study. The occupational health conditions reported by the study subjects can be linked to their pesticide use. Although this study assessed risk factors associated with general health symptoms, further investigation is needed to determine specific pesticide exposure-health correlations. Obtained. The study was approved by the Research Ethics Board of the University of the Philippines, Manila, which is recognized and accredited by the Forum for Ethical Review Committees in Asia and the Western Pacific (FERCAP).