Asia Pacific Association of Medical Toxicology (APAMT)- 9th Scientific Congress

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Research Title: 
Pesticide Illness (Self-Reported Toxicity Symptoms) Among Farm Workers in the West Bank,Palestine
Zyoud SH
Awang R
Al-Jabi SW
Research Abstract: 

Objective: Pesticides are known for their toxicity and are still extensively used, particularly in agriculture. Rising awareness is being focused on the health effects affecting humans occupationally exposed to pesticides, mainly agricultural farm workers. The objective of this study was to determine the prevalence of self-reported health symptoms related to pesticide exposure in an agricultural community in Palestine.

Methods:   In this cross-sectional questionnaire study, agricultural farm workers in Nablus district, Palestine, were interviewed on their practices of pesticide use and self-reported ‎health symptoms related to pesticide exposure. The program of the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 15 was used for data analysis. ‎ Results:   The questionnaire was completed by 381 farm workers. The mean age ± SD of ‎the participants was 38.8 ± 11.8 years. The majority (97.9%) of the participants were male. ‎Unsafe behaviors were identified as the storage of pesticide products at home, the preparation of pesticides in the kitchen, inadequate disposal of empty pesticide containers, eating and ‎drinking ‎ during pesticide application, and using inadequate protective clothing. The most frequent ‎selfreported  toxicity symptoms associated with pesticide use were skin rash (37.5%), headache ‎(37%), excessive sweating (24.9%), and diarrhea (21.3%). There was a strong significant‎ negative correlation (r = -0.83; P < 0.001) between self-reported toxicity symptoms and ‎scores for protective measures.

Conclusion:   Our results suggest that farm workers have a higher prevalence of multiple symptoms, which may be due to subacute intoxications by pesticides that did not require hospitalization. In addition, the results of this study indicate that most farm workers in this ‎district need more educational programs regarding the safety and use of pesticides. Legislation promoting the use of safer pesticides is also needed.  ‎