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1 "Ratanee Kammoolkon"
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Original Article
Relationship Between Pesticide Exposure Factors and Health Symptoms Among Chili Farmers in Northeast Thailand
Ratchadaporn Pengpan, Kulthida Y. Kopolrat, Sribud Srichaijaroonpong, Nutta Taneepanichskul, Patiwat Yasaka, Ratanee Kammoolkon
J Prev Med Public Health. 2024;57(1):73-82.   Published online December 20, 2023
DOI: https://doi.org/10.3961/jpmph.23.353
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AbstractAbstract AbstractSummary PDF
Objectives
The unsafe use of pesticides in agriculture represents a major hazard to human health. This study was conducted to investigate the association between pesticide exposure and health symptoms among chili farmers in northeast Thailand.
Methods
This cross-sectional analytic study included 141 chili farmers in Sakon Nakhon Province, in northeast Thailand. Data regarding health symptoms were gathered using a self-report questionnaire. A medical technician tested blood cholinesterase activity using an erythrocyte method, and an occupational medicine specialist at Ramathibodi Hospital in Bangkok, Thailand reviewed the results. Associations between personal characteristics, pesticide exposure factors, and health symptoms were analyzed using multiple logistic regression.
Results
Of the 141 chili farmers studied, 66.7% experienced pesticide poisoning, as indicated by below-normal cholinesterase levels. Fatigue was the most frequently reported symptom associated with pesticide exposure, affecting 37.6% of participants. This was followed by nausea and vomiting (31.9%), dizziness (14.9%), and dry throat (14.9%). Multivariate logistic regression analysis revealed that several factors were significantly associated with adverse symptoms: amount of work experience, volume of pesticides used, use of chemical pesticides, use of leaking containers during spraying, direct pesticide exposure while working, contact with pesticide-soaked clothing, consumption of food and drinks in the fields, and blood cholinesterase level indicating risk.
Conclusions
This study suggests potential health risks for chili farmers stemming from exposure to and contamination by pesticides used in agricultural practices. To mitigate these risks, it is essential to supply personal protective equipment and to implement educational programs aimed at improving protective behaviors among farmers.
Summary
Key Message
This study aimed to demonstrate the impact of pesticide exposure on health symptoms. In a cross-sectional study, the effects of pesticide exposure on acetylcholinesterase erythrocyte activity in blood during agricultural practices were examined as potential health risks for chili farmers. It is crucial to provide personal protective equipment and to implement educational initiatives targeted at encouraging farmers to adopt more protective behaviors to reduce these risks.

JPMPH : Journal of Preventive Medicine and Public Health