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Respiratory Condition of Family Farmers Exposed to Pesticides in the State of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

OPEN International journal of environmental research and public health | 13 Jun 2018

RJ Buralli, H Ribeiro, T Mauad, LF Amato-Lourenço, JM Salge, FA Diaz-Quijano, RS Leão, RC Marques, DS Silva and JRD Guimarães
Pesticide exposure is a growing public health concern. Although Brazil is the world’s largest consumer of pesticides, only a few studies have addressed the health effects among farmers. This study aimed to evaluate whether pesticide exposure is associated with respiratory outcomes among rural workers and relatives in Brazil during the crop and off-seasons. Family farmers (82) were interviewed about occupational history and respiratory symptoms, and cholinesterase tests were conducted in the crop-season. Spirometry was performed during the crop and off-season. Respiratory outcomes were compared between seasons and multiple regressions analysis were conducted to search for associations with exposure indicators. Participants were occupationally and environmentally exposed to multiple pesticides from an early age. During the crop and off-season, respectively, they presented a prevalence of 40% and 30.7% for cough, 30.7% and 24% for nasal allergies, and 24% and 17.3% for chest tightness. Significant associations between spirometry impairments and exposure indicators were found both during the crop and off-season. These findings provide complementary evidence about the association of pesticide exposure with adverse respiratory effects among family farmers in Brazil. This situation requires special attention as it may increase the risk of pulmonary dysfunctions, and the morbidity and mortality burden associated with these diseases.
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