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India being an agricultural land, pesticides consumption causes a serious environmental and public health problem. Due to the steep competition and a large demand, many farmers are resorting to extensive and rather over use of organophosphate pesticides to increase their agricultural yields. The sprayers who are involved in the spraying activity of pesticides in fields get the direct exposure of pesticides due to unsafe and non-preventive work practices. They do not use the safety masks, gloves and other protective gears during the spraying of pesticides which results into the access of pesticides in the blood stream through inhalation and dermal exposure which can adversely affect their eyes, skin and the respiratory system. In the present study relationship between the extent of pesticide used and signs and symptoms of illnesses due to exposure among spray farmers of Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh India, who sprayed pesticides by themselves and therefore were directly exposed to pesticides were assessed. 105 spray farmers were interviewed using previously designed questionnaires during a cross sectional survey. The 18 months exposed spray farmers reported maximum acute signs and symptoms like burning/stinging of eyes (18.42%), blurred vision (23.68%), skin redness/itching (50%), excessive sweating/shortness of breath (34.2%), dry sore throat (21.05%) and burning of nose (28.9%). The signs and symptoms were found to be duration dependent among the sprayers. It is concluded that there is need for creating more awareness among the farm sprayers and authorities in implementing and ensuring the use of protective gear while handling pesticides.
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Author(s): Choudhary A Ali AS Ali SA
Organophosphate Pesticides, Environmental Health, Exposure, Risk, Spray Farmers