Aims This is a study conducted among 534 farmers in an agricultural area in the vegetable industry. The target site is Benguet, Philippines which is the largest vegetable producer in the Philippines. This study assessed the pesticide exposure and occupational safety and health benguet farmers, and identified the work risks to the occupational health of the farmers.
Methods Survey questionnaires look into pesticide exposures and work practices of the farmers. Physical and hematologic health assessment tools as well as laboratory examinations for blood were conducted to look into occupational health of farmers.
Results The most commonly used pesticides were Tamaron (36.1%), Dithane,(34.1%), Sumicidine (29.0%), and Selecron (24.9%). Tamaron, being the most commonly used, has an active ingredient of methamidophos and classified as an organophosphate pesticide. About 41% who underwent the physical examination were diagnosed to have abnormal assessment results. Pesticide use and risk factors were found to be associated with easy fatigability, weight loss, loss of appetite, cerebellar function, creatinine levels, haemoglobin, mean corpuscular volume, mean corpuscular haemoglobin count, and platelet count (p=0.05). About 51% of the farmers had abnormal RBC cholinesterase which can be indicative of oganophosphate exposure.
Conclusion There was association between pesticide exposure and work practices with the occupational health of the framers in Benguet. The results of the study underscore the need to improve protection measures so as to reduce the exposure of the population and environment to pesticides.
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