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0006 Effects of Agricultural Work Practices and Pesticide Use on Occupational Health of Farmers
  1. Jinky Leilanie Lu
  1. National Institutes of Health, Univeristy of the Philippines Mnaila, Anila, The Philippines

Abstract

Objectives This study aimed to identify the associated health symptoms between high and low exposed groups to pesticide, and to come up with an intervention pesticide program for our farmers in the vegetable industry.

Method Survey questionnaires were used to look into pesticide exposures and work practices of 534 farmers in the largest eggplant producing province in the northern Philippines. Physical health assessment was conducted by medical doctors to look into the health status of farmers who ahve been using pesticides for the past years. Laboratory examination of blood was also done, including blood cholinesterase to dertermine organophosphate exposures.

Results Majority were males (53.4%), married (80.5%) with a mean age of 47 years old. The most commonly used pesticides were Tamaron (36.1%), Dithane (34.1%), Sumicidine (29.0%), Selecron (24.9%) and Lannate (15.2%). Tamaron, being the most commonly used, has an active ingredient of methamidophos and classified as an organophosphate pesticide. Meanwhile, Dithane, a mancozeb, is a dithiocarbamate pesticide and Sumicidine is a pyrethroid with an active ingredient of fenvalerate. In addition, Selecron is composed mainly of ingredients of prochloroz mn and spinosad, respectively (Table 2). During their agricultural work, farmers used pesticides mainly for three to six hours per day (51.2%), one to two days weekly (86.8%) and three to four weeks per month (82.3%). 40.9% who underwent the physical examination were diagnosed to have abnormal assessment results. Analyses indicated that pesticide use and risk factors were found to have association at p = 0.05 with easy fatigability, weight loss, loss of appetite, cerebellar function, creatinine levels, haemoglobin, mean corpuscular volume, mean corpuscular haemoglobin count, and platelet count. 5.3% of the farmers were found to have abnormal platelet count. Platelet count may indicate whether the patient is having bleeding problems, infectious processes, bone marrow depression, malignancies or anaemia. For RBC cholinesterase activity, it was found that 50.8% of the samples showed depression in activity.

Conclusions This study has demonstrated the interaction between the farmers’ pesticide exposure and work practices, as well as physical, neurological and laboratory assessment findings. The study shows that farmers are at a considerable risk of either acute or chronic pesticide poisoning because of improper work practices. Around 40.9% of the farmers were diagnosed to have abnormal physical examination findings while 4.6% presented problems in their neurological functioning and less than 10% of the farmers exhibited abnormal laboratory results. The author recommends the use of the information gathered in this study to improve current policies and standards with regards to surveillance of pesticide use.

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