The primary agricultural product in Egypt is the cotton crop. Children and adolescents work seasonally in the cotton fields applying pesticides. To examine the effect of pesticide exposure on clinical and biochemical parameters in children and adolescents applying pesticides. Male children currently applying pesticides and aged between 9 and 19 years (n = 50) were recruited for this study. They were asked to complete work, health, and exposure questionnaires; examined for any medical and neurological problems with particular attention to sensory and motor functions including cranial nerves, sensory and motor system, and reflexes. From each participant, a blood sample was taken to measure acetylcholinesterase activity, and liver and kidney functions. Children who have never worked in agriculture (n = 50), matched on age, education, and socioeconomic status were also studied and served as controls. More neuromuscular disorders were identified in pesticide applicators than controls. A significant lower level of acetylcholinesterase was found in the applicator group compared to the controls. There was also a significant difference in hematological, renal and hepatic indices in the exposed children compared to the control children. Working more days in the current season and also working more years as a pesticide applicator were both associated with an increase in the prevalence of neuromuscular abnormalities and significant changes in the laboratory tests. Children and adolescent pesticide applicators working in farms of Egypt are at risk of developing serious health problems similar to those of adults.
|Number of pages
|The international journal of occupational and environmental medicine
|Published - Jul 2010
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health