Article

A Health Surveillance of Pesticide Sprayers in Talwandi Sabo Area of Punjab, North–West India

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Abstract

Human pesticide poisoning has become major public health issue these days. Throughout the world highest levels of pesticide exposure are found in the farm workers, applicators and people living adjacent to heavily treated agricultural land. Pesticides are linked to various chronic diseases like cancers, infertility, kidney failure, reproductive problems and nervous disorders. The present study had been carried out to examine the a cute symptoms of pesticide spraying in the farm workers of three villages in Talwandi Sabo block of Bathinda district of Punjab, a cotton growing area with high usage of pesticides. This is an exploratory health study recorded face– to-face on pre-tested questionnaire. A total of 108 male sprayers from villages Bangi Nihal Singh (34), Jajjal (39) and Mahi Nangal (35) were field interviewed about the immediate impact of pesticides during spraying season from September-October 2003. Majority of the sprayers complained of having nausea, itchiness of the eyes, pain while urinating, discolored nails, nails dropping off, swollen fingers, sleeplessness, headache, excessive sweating and skin rashes. Immediate attention should be given to the implementation of proper awareness programs to pesticide workers. Also, practices like Integrated Pest Management, Organic Farming, Biopesticides, and Crop Diversification should be promoted.

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... The spreading concern about global food security has led to various approaches to improve food production systems and increase productivity. Toxic chemicals are purposely introduced to the environment to reduce the agricultural loss incurred due to the presence of pests (Singh & Kaur 2012). Despite their substantial contribution, the use of pesticides posts serious concerns about occupational hazard arising from the exposure of farmers, pesticide sprayers and residents living adjacent to heavily treated agricultural land. ...
... Chen et al (1991) reported acute pyrethroid poisoning among sprayers in China due to careless usage of pesticides resulting to serious skin contamination with pyrethroids. Exposure of pesticides such as pyrethroids and organophosphates among agricultural farmers documented by other studies also demonstrated respiratory and vision problems, itchy eyes and dry/sore throat, nausea, dizziness and headache (Dey et al 2013;Singh & Kaur 2012;Jensen et al 2011;Lu 2009b;Del Prado-Lu 2007;Chitra et al 2006;Mancini et al 2005;Yassin et al 2002). The results of the present study may indicate that the shortterm spraying activities done by the farmers may have exposed them to mild pyrethroid and organophosphate poisonings as reflected in their self-reported signs and symptoms. ...
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The hazards of pesticide exposure have been a growing concern all around the globe. Increase of susceptibility of farmers to pesticide intoxication is due to lack of knowledge regarding safe and proper pesticide handling. This study aims to assess the pesticide use and handling, perceptions on the pesticide effects to health and environment and the self-reported symptoms of potential pesticide poisoning among farmers in Mindanao, Southern Philippines. This study used a combination of an open-ended and a close-ended structured questionnaire where a total of 701 farmers were interviewed. Majority of the farmers believed that pesticide has negative effects to health and environment. Despite this notion, their unsafe handling of pesticides and non-compliance to proper utilization of personal protective devices may increase their risks to the potential danger brought about by exposure to pesticides. The most prevalent pesticides were those that belong to chemical families pyrethroid and organophosphate which are classified by WHO as Class II toxicity level. The most common complaints among farmers after the spraying sessions were skin irritation (32.95%), headache (29.55%), cough (23.30%), dry throat (15.34%), shortness of breath (14.96%), dizziness (14.20%), nausea (12.69%) and eye irritation (11.36%) which were manifestations of mild pyrethroid and organophosphate poisonings. These findings suggest that improving habits towards safe use and handling of pesticides among farmers by extensive trainings will significantly decrease pesticide poisoning incidences.
... Unsafe farming practices such as smoking while applying pesticides and inadequate use of protective equipment were directly related to job-related/occupational poisoning rates and environmental pollution (Singh and Kaur, 2012). Guo et al. (1996) reported that skin-related diseases caused by pesticide exposure in Taiwan were mainly due to the lack of protective clothing as well as hot and humid working conditions. ...
... Kachaiyaphum et al. (2010) found that chili farmers in Thailand suffered from several pesticide-induced symptoms among them 38% suffered from dizziness, 31% suffered from headaches and 27% suffered from nausea or vomiting because of unsafe pesticide practices. Singh and Kaur (2012) reported that in India out of the 108 surveyed farmers, 102 suffered from several pesticide-induced skin symptoms such as rashes and itching. Farmers were subjected to intensive skin contact during the spraying of pesticides. ...
... Lu (2009) reported that the two most common times for pesticide exposure occurred during mixing or application in the field. Singh and Kaur (2012) also reported that unsafe work practices and inadequate protective equipment were related to high pesticide poisoning rates. Zhang et al. (2011) investigated the prevalence of work-related acute pesticide poisoning among Chinese farm workers in Jiangsu province. ...
... Kachaiyaphum et al. (2010) reported that chili farm workers in Thailand had pesticide-related symptoms including dizziness (38 %), headaches (31 %), and nausea or vomiting (27 %). Singh and Kaur (2012) reported that 102 of the 108 Indian farm workers surveyed suffered pesticide-related skin rashes and itching. Farm workers are highly susceptible to dermal exposure while spraying pesticides. ...
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The purpose of this study was to assess Taiwanese fruit farm workers’ knowledge, attitudes, behaviours, and clothing practices regarding pesticide activities. Seventyseven fruit farm workers from four districts of Tainan City, Taiwan completed the questionnaire. Results indicated that farmer workers had a good overall level of knowledge of the adverse effects of pesticides on human health and most had experienced symptoms of pesticide poisoning. Farm workers’ attitudes toward pesticide use and handling indicated that they saw pesticides useful in controlling pests. Farm workers indicated the limited availability of comfortable clothing designed for a hot and humid climate while still providing sufficient protection was the main reason for not wearing personal protective clothing (PPC) and personal protective equipment (PPE). Emphasis on safety precautions is needed when using pesticides, and the importance of PPC and PPE is essential for the health of farm workers.
... Do không áp dýng các biện pháp an toàn khi sā dýng thuốc BVTV, nông dân trồng Ćt ć Thái Lan cho biết, họ đã tÿng bð nhiễm độc thuốc BVTV vĆi các triệu chĀng nhþ đau đaeu hay nôn māa (Kachaiyaphum & cs., 2010). TþĄng tă nhþ vêy đối vĆi trþąng hĉp ć Ấn Độ, nhiều ngþąi bð triệu chĀng liên quan đến nhiễm độc da do tiếp xúc trăc tiếp vĆi thuốc trong khi sā dýng (Singh & Kaur, 2012). Nguyễn Vën Song & cs. ...
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Nghiên cứu nhằm đánh giá kiến thức, thái độ và mức độ áp dụng các biện pháp an toàn trong sử dụng thuốc bảo vệ thực vật của người dân trong sản xuất chè. Số liệu được thu thập thông qua phỏng vấn bằng bảng hỏi có cấu trúc đối với 60 hộ dân trồng chè ở xã Bình Thuận, huyện Đại Từ, tỉnh Thái Nguyên. Kết quả nghiên cứu cho thấy người dân còn hạn chế về kiến thức nhận biết nhóm độc dựa vào thông tin trên bao bì thuốc bảo vệ thực vật (BVTV) và cách xử lý bao bì thuốc BVTV sau khi sử dụng. Người dân có thái độ quan tâm ở mức cao về tác hại của thuốc BVTV với sức khỏe con người, tuy nhiên chỉ với mức trung bình về tác hại đối với môi trường, đặc biệt là đối với thiên địch có lợi cho mùa màng. Người dân đã áp dụng tương đối tốt các biện pháp an toàn trong sử dụng thuốc BVTV, trừ việc vẫn thường xuyên đổ nước rửa bình phun ra kênh mương hay ao hồ và thỉnh thoảng vứt vỏ bao bì sau khi sử dụng thuốc ngay trên ruộng nơi pha thuốc. Giới tính chủ hộ, sự tham gia tập huấn, diện tích đất nông nghiệp và thu nhập từ nông nghiệp có ảnh hưởng tới kiến thức, thái độ và mức độ áp dụng biện pháp an toàn trong sử dụng thuốc bảo vệ thực vật trên cây chè.
... They invariably reveal a high level of poisoning in the communities studied -often over 20% (Kishi, 2005;Murray et al., 2002;Mancini et al., 2005;Dasgupta et al., 2007;PAN International, 2010). Recent surveys that have uncovered high rates of poisoning include Bangladesh (85%), India (94%), Pakistan (100%) and Tanzania (93%) (Miah et al., 2014;Singh and Kaur, 2012;Tahir and Anwar, 2012;Lekei et al., 2014b). ...
... Exposure to unprotected eyes by pesticides led to absorption in the eye tissues causing potential toxicity (Jaga and Dharmani, 2006). Visual problems (itching / burning eyes, blurred vision) can be related to the direct contact of pesticides with eyes due to non-compliance and non-change of eye protection measures such as protective glasses, so these findings are corroborated by this research (Singh & Kaur , 2012). The effects of organophosphate on the skin also depended on exposure time (Kishi et al., 1995). ...
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The greatest challenge for the world in the upcoming period will be to feed itself without ruining its environment. An increased use of pesticides and mineral fertilizers has resulted in a large production of diverse agricultural crops and thousands of new products, which have enabled the regular supply of the market and good nutrition of the population. Due to great competition and demand, many farmers tend to use organophosphate pesticides excessively in order to increase yields. However, when spraying, farmers should, must to adhere but do not adhere to the instructions for the safe use of pesticides, i.e. they do not use appropriate personal and protective gear, which enables pesticides to enter the blood stream through inhalation and dermal exposure, negatively affecting their health. In this paper, the authors compared the relationship between the length of exposure to organophosphate pesticides and signs of disease caused by direct exposure to pesticides during spraying. In the Rasina District, the Republic of Serbia, 80 farmers were interviewed by using pre-designed questionnaires over the course of 16 months. The farmers who had been exposed to pesticide spraying reported acute signs and symptoms resulting from that exposure, such as blurred vision, burning eyes, redness and skin itching, difficulty in breathing, excessive sweating, dry throat and burning in the nose. The duration of the symptoms depended on the length of the exposure. It was concluded that there was need for raising awareness among farm sprayers on the safe use of pesticides and use of personal and protective gear while handling pesticides.
... It should be noted that China is not alone in this phenomenon, similar situations have been reported in other countries, for example India and Pakistan (Singh and Kaur 2012;Mcbeath and Mcbeath 2014). ...
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... Cotton is a major crop in this region, which requires excessive use of pesticides to control the infestation of pests, as the pests have developed resistance to the pesticides (Shetty 2004). Cotton cultivation implies high use of a dangerous cocktail of pesticides-Organochlorines (Aldrin, Heptachlor), Carbmates (Aldicarb), Organophosphates (Chloropyriphos, Acephate, Ethion, Triazophos) and Synthetic pyrethyroids (Fenvelrate, Alphametharin, Cypermethrin) (Singh and Kaur, 2012). The farmers and primarily agricultural workers are inadvertently exposed to pesticides through occupational use at all stages starting from pesticide purchase, transport, storage, dilution of pesticide concentrate, leaking of spray equipment, and inhalation during pesticide spraying (Maroni et al., 2000). ...
... This region falls under the cottongrowing area and one of the highest consumers of pesticides in Punjab. It has been observed that the cotton cultivation implies high use of a dangerous cocktail of pesticides like chloropyrifos, acephate, ethion, triazophos, fenvalrate, cyhalothrin, cypermethrin, etc. (Singh and Kaur 2012). Additionally, cotton seed cake is frequently used as protein rich animal feed and studies have reported the widespread contamination of cotton seed cake with pesticide residues. ...
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Results of health survey and biological monitoring in pesticide formulators exposed to a combination of pesticides, an organophosphorus (OP) insecticide (phorate) and a persistent chlorinated insecticide (technical hexachlorocyclohexane; HCH; BHC) are reported. Exposure of 160 workers to a combination of pesticides (malathion, parathion, DDT and HCH) resulted in 73% of the workers showing toxic signs and symptoms. Formulators showed marked inhibition of whole blood, plasma and red blood cell cholinesterase (ChE) activity and slightly higher concentrations of DDT and HCH in serum. An interesting observation was that over 25% of the formulators showed ECG aberrations. The ECG changes were not related to whole blood ChE activity. Exposure to the chlorinated insecticide HCH in 19 workers engaged in the manufacture of technical HCH resulted in toxic signs and symptoms in over 90% of the subjects. The HCH concentrations in serum showed a ten-fold increase. Changes in the liver enzymes ornithine carbamyl transferase (OCT), gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase (GGTP), leucine aminopeptidase (LAP) and in immunoglobulin M(IgM) showed possible effects on liver and humoral immunity. ECG monitoring showed evidence of cardiac effects. Exposure of 40 formulators to a highly toxic OP insecticide (phorate) showed that over 60% of the workers suffered from toxic effects in spite of using a complete set of protective clothing. A marked and progressive inhibition in whole blood and plasma ChE activity was found during the two weeks of exposure to phorate. An appreciable recovery in ChE activity was observed 10 days after cessation of exposure. These surveys have established the need to practice and develop biological monitoring techniques to assess exposure and predict health risks in workers occupationally exposed to pesticides.
Article
Pulmonary function studies were conducted on 489 pesticide workers engaged in spraying operations on mango plantations. These workers were exposed to a variety of organochlorine and organophosphorus pesticides. A reference group consisting of 208 controls, belonging to the same socioeconomic stratum, was taken from the same area for purposes of comparison. The results of the study showed 36.5 and 41.5% prevalence of respiratory impairment in the exposed workers and in the controls, respectively. The most common pulmonary impairment among the exposed subjects (18.8%) and controls (16.9%) was of the restrictive type, followed by mixed ventilatory defect. Bronchial obstruction affected 2.5 and 3.7% of the exposed and control populations, respectively. In a comparison of the prevalence of total respiratory impairment in the pesticide workers and the controls, the nonsmokers did not show any significant difference in this study. The prevalence rate of respiratory impairment showed an increasing trend in different exposure groups (p less than 0.05), thereby clearly indicating a dose effect. The study revealed that occupational exposure to pesticides had a direct bearing on the respiratory impairment identified in the exposed workers.
Article
1 To study the retinal changes in occupationally exposed pesticide workers, 79 subjects exposed to an organophosphate, fenthion, and 18 exposed to an organochlorine pesticide DDT [1,1,1- trichloro- 2 ,2-bis(p-chlorophenyl) ethane], were subjected to a detailed study, including history taking, physical examination and ophthalmic evaluation. Fluorescein angiography was performed in selected cases. Serum cholinesterase level in 22 workers and serum DDT residue in 17 workers of the respective groups were also estimated. 2 Fifteen workers (19%), who were exposed to fenthion had macular changes (P < 0.01). The macular lesions were characterized by perifoveal irregularity of pigmentation and areas of hypopigmentation of 1/8-1/3 disc diameter. 3 Mean age of the subjects having macular involvement was 30.6 years and mean duration of exposure 7.9 years. The symptoms reported by them were diminution of vision (8), dislike for bright light, flash of light, black dots in front of the eyes (2 each) and visual blurring (1). Paracentral scotoma and constriction of peripheral field were present in three workers each. Fluorescein angiography suggested pigment epithelium defect. 4 Other causes of macular involvement in these workers were excluded; a possible role of pesticides in the genesis of these macular changes is suggested.
Article
Numerous occupational studies of cancer risks related to agriculture, agricultural practices, and agricultural exposures have been conducted among male farmers and farmworkers. Relatively few studies of female farmers and farmworkers have been conducted. Excesses of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, leukemia, multiple myeloma, soft tissue sarcoma, and cancers of the breast, ovary, lung, bladder, cervix, and sinonasal cavities have been observed in women in agriculture or with agricultural exposures. Agents that contribute to ill health in exposed men may also affect exposed women, sometimes in unexpected ways.
Article
Many publications, primarily of work performed in Japan, report findings in human populations of an increased incidence of myopia and of a more advanced visual disease syndrome (Saku disease), which reportedly correlated with increasing use of organophosphate pesticides in agriculture. Follow-up studies in animals performed in Japan using such agents as ethylthiometon, fenthion and fenitrothion demonstrate adverse effects of organophosphates on the visual system. The several ocular effects in question are dose dependent, ranging in severity from lenticular and electro-retinographic changes to the seemingly more serious histophysiological changes in such tissues as the ciliary body and retina. An important question arising from this work is that of the role of cholinesterase inhibition in the etiology of the effects. Studies currently in progress on particular organophosphates being conducted at EPA's research facility and by certain registrants of pesticides, which are in various stages of completion, appear to be substantiating much that has been reported in Japan. While animal studies clearly show that some organophosphates elicit ocular toxicity, there are many knowledge gaps with regard to effects in humans and the ocular toxicity in general, e.g. time and dose dependency, cholinesterase inhibition vs ocular effects and effects of routes of exposure. Consequently, the office is unable at this time to incorporate hazard assessment data with exposure assessment data or to perform risk assessments on organophosphates based on the ocular toxicity potential of this class of chemicals.
Article
A cross-sectional survey of 489 male subjects in the age group 15 to 65 years engaged directly or indirectly in mango cultivation along with 208 control subjects was carried out to find their socio-economic, environmental and health conditions. The conditions like high illiteracy rate (49.5%), poverty (PCI less than Rs 100 per month, 52.2%), poor housing (mud houses, 66.7%) unsafe water supply (78.6%) were prevailing in the surveyed population. The high respiratory morbidity may be attributed to high prevalence of smoking and prolonged inhalation of organic dusts during farming operation associated with illiteracy and poor socio-economic status. Gastrointestinal disorders were related to poor hygienic conditions, smoking and consumption of contaminated water. The symptoms pertaining to CNS, skin and eyes were found to be associated with exposure to pesticides.
Article
We examined the serum levels of thyroxine and thyroid stimulating hormone in 103 rural subjects with respect to blood levels of organochlorine pesticide and occupation. We found that 24.3% of study subjects had depleted thyroxine levels in association with significantly lower organochlorine pesticide residues in blood. Sex, nutritional status, thyromegaly, or handling of pesticides in the course of work were not found to be factors contributing to depleted thyroxine levels.
Article
The National Poisons Control Centre of the National Institute of Public Health and the Environment in the Netherlands conducted a prospective study on acute poisoning arising from exposure to pesticides in agricultural workers. The study was performed to determine the extent and severity of acute pesticide poisoning in the Netherlands and the working conditions that lead to these poisonings. All cases of potential acute occupational intoxication by pesticides in which the Poisons Control Centre was consulted in 1991 were thoroughly studied by an occupational hygienist and a specialist in internal medicine. With the consent of the patients and their physicians, the patients' medical condition and the working conditions leading to exposure were investigated on the spot. After the exclusion of 73 patients (27 non-occupational exposures, 7 occupational exposures in non-agricultural workers, 1 accident occurred abroad, 32 patients with illnesses unrelated to pesticides and 6 who could not be traced for follow-up), 54 cases of possible acute work-related pesticide poisoning remained for study. In 37 of the 54 events there was a direct relation between exposure to pesticides and acute health problems. In one patient doubt remained about the origin of the complaints and in 16 of the 54 cases pesticide poisoning was highly unlikely and the complaints could be attributed to other diseases. In the 37 remaining cases symptoms consisted of skin and/or eye lesions (23 cases) and systemic health effects (14 cases). Exposure to the soil disinfectant 1,3-dichloropropene resulted in severe skin damage. Direct contact of pesticides with the eyes invariability resulted in local irritation. Severe systemic poisonings occurred after exposure to organophosphate and carbamate insecticides and the soil disinfectant methyl bromide. Investigations at the site of the exposure revealed 43 cases of clear exposure to pesticides, in which, except for two cases, 1 worker per incident was involved. In 67% of the cases exposures took not place during pesticide dissemination, but during preparatory activities (35%), repair of application equipment (14%) and during re-entry (14%). In 79% of the cases splashing of pesticides or spray drift led to the exposure. In most accidents (74%) imperfect technical design or technical defects were important risk factors for exposure. Although most workers were aware of the risk of using pesticides, they were still careless in taking adequate protective measures. Especially during preparatory and reparations activities the wearing of protective clothing has to be emphasized.
Article
Little is known about the adverse effects of substances, such as pesticides and metals, on the development of mild cognitive dysfunction (MCD). Cross-sectional and prospective data from the Maastricht Aging Study were used to find out the potential neurotoxicity of particular substances. Exposure to pesticides, for example by arable farmers and gardeners, was associated with increased risks of MCD. Exposure to metals and organic solvents was not associated with MCD. Our findings might reflect subtle changes in brain function among people exposed to pesticides.
Article
Agricultural and plantation works are associated with a variety of unique occupational health hazards in the form of physical factors like extreme weather conditions, sunrays, etc; chemicaVtoxicological hazards in the form of pesticides/fertilisers, etc, including different forms of biological and mechanical hazards. As most of our rural people are engaged in varied types of agricultural activities, they are highly susceptible for suffering from numerous work related health disorders. There are very few data regarding the epidemiology of occupational health disorders among agricultural and plantation workers. Clinically well recognised group of occupationally acquired health problems may be respiratory, dermatological, traumatic, poisoning and neoplastic in nature. Prevalence of some specific zoonotic diseases and behavioural health problems are also found to be more among them. There is lack of attention for prevention and control of these occupational health problems. An adequately developed comprehensive occupational health care programme having all the components of preventive, curative and rehabilitative aspects can only promote and maintain the highest degree of physical, mental and social well-being in all types of agricultural and plantation workers of rural India.
Techniques for reducing pesticides: Environment and economic benefits
  • D Pimental
  • A Greiner
Pimental D,Greiner A 1996. Techniques for reducing pesticides: Environment and economic benefits. In: D Pimental (Ed.): Environmental and Socio-economic Costs of Pesticide Use. England, Chichester: John Wiley and Sons.
Neuropsychologic effects of long term exposure to pesticides: Results from the French Phytoner study
  • I Baldi
  • L Filleul
  • B Mohamed-Ibrahim
  • C Fabrigoule
  • Jf Dartigues
Stu dy of respira tory impa irment a mong pesticide sprayer in mango plantations
  • S K Rastogi
  • B N Gupta
  • T Hussain
  • N Mathur
  • N Garg
Rastogi SK, Gupta BN,Hussain T, Mathur N, Garg N 1 98 9. Stu dy of respira tory impa irment a mong pesticide sprayer in mango plantations. Am J Ind Med, 16: 529-538.