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A study was carried out on cotton growing farmers to assess the impact of organophosphorous pesticides on the biochemical parameters. Three hundred occupationally exposed farmers to pesticide application and equal number of unexposed subjects were selected from 24 randomly selected villages using stratified proportionate random sampling procedure. Multivariate logistic regression analysis was performed to assess the effect of pesticides on acetyl cholinesterase enzyme activity (AchE), in exposed and unexposed subjects. About 80% of exposed subjects used mixture of organophosphates and were exposed to pesticides for a period of 16.3 years at an average of 4 months / year. The severity of symptoms in the exposed subjects was higher in the second tertile (between 12 and 20 years) than in the third tertile (> 20 years). However, inhibition of AchE activity was significantly high (P < 0.05) in third tertile than the first (< 12 years) and second tertiles. Overall, there was a significant decrease in AchE activity and antioxidants with increased levels of lipid peroxidation (P < 0.01) in exposed subjects than unexposed subjects. The elevated levels of aspartate aminotransferase (AST) and creatinine in the exposed subjects were very marginal and just above the normal values.
Key words: Chronic exposure, pesticides, AchE activity, lipid peroxidation.