A cross sectional survey on the prevalence of acute pyrethroid poisoning in cotton farmers was conducted in 1987 and 1988. A total of 3113 pyrethroid spraymen (2230 men (71.6%) and 883 women (28.4%] were interviewed after spraying and followed up for 72 hours. Adverse effects of pyrethroid exposure were found in 834 of them (26.8%) manifested as abnormal facial sensations, dizziness, headache, fatigue, nausea, or loss of appetite. Only 10 subjects, who developed significant systemic symptoms and had signs of listlessness or muscular fasciculation, were diagnosed as having mild occupational acute pyrethroid poisoning with a prevalence of 0.31% in subjects exposed to pure pyrethroids and 0.38% in subjects exposed to pyrethroid organophosphate mixtures. Measurements of pyrethroid concentrations in the air of the breathing zone, in skin pads, and in urine samples showed that dermal contamination is the main route of exposure to pyrethroids in cotton growers. Preventive measures are recommended.
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