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S07-3 Occupational exposure to persistent pesticides amongst agricultural workers in bolivia
  1. Juan P Arrebola1,
  2. E Mutch2,
  3. M Rivero3,
  4. A Choque3,
  5. S Silvestre3,
  6. N Olea4,5,
  7. R Ocana-Riola6,
  8. LA Mercado3
  1. 1Virgen De Las Nieves University Hospital. Biomedical Research Institute ibs.Granada, Spain
  2. 2Institute of Cellular Medicine. University of Newcastle Upon Tyne NE2 4HH, UK
  3. 3Instituto De Investigaciones en Ciencias De La Salud, Carreras De Bioquímica Y Farmacia, Universidad Autónoma Gabriel René Moreno, Calle México S/n, Santa Cruz De La Sierra, Bolivia
  4. 4Laboratory of Medical Investigations, San Cecilio University Hospital, University of Granada,18071 Granada, Spain
  5. 5CIBER en Epidemiología Y Salud Pública (CIBERESP), Spain
  6. 6Escuela Andaluza De Salud Pública, Campus Universitario De Cartuja, Cuesta Del Observatorio, 4, Apdo. De Correos 2070, 18080 Granada, Spain


Background Organochlorine pesticides are still used for vector control, and there is evidence of their recent illegal use in agriculture in several tropical and subtropical areas of South America, including Bolivia.

Objectives To determine concentrations of three selected organochlorine pesticides (p,p’-DDT, p,p’-DDE, HCB) in adipose tissue and serum samples in several Bolivian population sub-groups.

Results We found relatively high exposure levels in several Bolivian population groups, influenced by different factors from those observed in Europe and North America due to their specific occupational, lifestyle and dietary patterns. Especially elevated p,p’-DDE (main DDT metabolite) exposure levels were found in agricultural farmers from three rural communities in eastern Bolivia (subtropical area), with median serum concentrations of 19.7 ng/mL, which were 20-fold higher than those found in Bolivian urban dwellers. This is an alarming finding considering that this pesticide has been prohibited in the country since 1996. Additionally, multivariate models revealed a positive correlation between residence in the study area and exposure levels.

Conclusion Our results point to the existence of heavily-polluted and previously unidentified hotspots in the region, underlining the need for the continuous monitoring of these populations given the potential associated health risks.

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