Study objective: The aim of this study was to explore the association of allergic rhinitis with pesticides use among grape farmers in Crete.
Subjects and methods: We conducted a cross-sectional study of 120 grape farmers and 100 controls at the Malevisi region in Northern Crete. The protocol consisted of a questionnaire, skin prick tests for sixteen common allergens, measurement of specific IgE antibodies against eight allergens, and spirometry before and after bronchodilatation.
Results: Grape farmers who used pesticides had higher prevalence rates of allergic rhinitis symptoms (OR, 3.0; 95%CI, 1.4-6.2) compared with grape farmers who reported no current use of pesticides and control subjects. Logistic regression models controlling for age, sex and smoking status showed that six of the twelve predefined groups of major pesticides were significantly related with allergic rhinitis symptoms. The highest risks were observed for paraquat and other bipyridyl herbicides (OR, 2.2; 95%CI, 1.0-4.8), dithiocarbamate fungicides (OR, 2.5; 95%CI, 1.1-5.3) and carbamate insecticides (OR, 3.0; 95%CI, 1.4-6.5). A factor analysis of pesticides used, identified three distinct factors. The most common factor was that of “multiple pesticide use” that included 9 pesticides and that was significantly associated with allergic rhinitis (OR, 1.5; 95% CI, 1.0-2.3). Odds ratios were higher when allergic rhinitis was defined using both questionnaire data on symptoms and atopy.
Conclusions: Occupational exposure to multiple agricultural chemicals could be related to allergic rhinitis in grape farmers.
- allergic rhinitis
- grape farmers
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