Risk factors to pesticide exposure and associated health symptoms among cut-flower farmers.Int J Environ Health Res. 2005 Jun; 15(3):161-9.IJ
The study looked into the risk factors associated with pesticide exposure among cut-flower farmers. A survey questionnaire was given to 102 respondents in Barangay Bahong in La Trinidad, the center of cut-flower production in the Philippines. Results showed that 32% were symptomatic or had experienced pesticide-related illnesses since their first use of pesticides. The majority of the pesticides used by the farmers were Categories Ib and II which are moderately or highly hazardous chemicals. Individuals with signs and symptoms most often centered on the eye, ear, nose and throat (EENT) (44 respondents reporting these symptoms) followed by general and neuralgic (16 respondents) and the integumentary (14 respondents). The most common general signs and symptoms manifested were weakness followed by fatigue and muscle pain then by chills and fever. The most common EENT manifestations were eye itchiness and blurring of vision. For neurological signs and symptoms, dizziness followed by headache was reported. Logistic regression showed that illnesses for the past 12 months were associated with certain risk factors such as farm use of pesticides, exposure to pesticide while applying it, respiratory inhalation of pesticide vapours and mists (p = 0.05). Moreover, those who re-entered a recently sprayed area were 20 times more likely to get ill during the past 12 months than those who did not. Those who used pesticide-contaminated pieces of fabric to wipe sweat off their faces were 2% more likely to get ill, and those who had spills on their bodies while applying pesticide were 26 times more likely to get ill. The study suggested that the risk factors to pesticide exposure should be considered in policy formulations for the cut-flower farmers in the country.