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For centuries, researchers have focused on exposures to hays, grains and animals as primary contributors to poor respiratory outcomes in farmers and agricultural workers.1 ,2 However, growing evidence suggests that other agricultural exposures, namely pesticides, may also adversely impact respiratory health. Recent studies from around the world have suggested that pesticides may be associated with respiratory symptoms and disease, particularly asthma.3–6 However, these studies have been based on self-reported outcomes and there have been few studies using objective measures of pulmonary function.2 ,7
De Jong et al8 report that occupational pesticide exposure is associated with poorer pulmonary function consistent with airway obstruction as measured by spirometry in two Dutch general population cohorts. These associations with pesticides were seen in both men and women and smokers and non-smokers; some associations were stronger in smokers, but not consistently so. …
Competing interests None.
Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.