Cross sectional survey on the health status of the farm workers, engaged with pesticide use, at three agricultural farms; one in Debre zeit and two in Meki, Ethiopia, was conducted. A low prevalence of respiratory symptoms, chronic cough = 2.4%, in the farm workers as well as, chronic cough = 2.7%, in the control group was observed. The values obtained for the measured indices such as forced vital capacity (FVC) and forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) in sprayers and non-sprayers, respectively, after short and long duration of employment were significantly lower than the predicted values (p<0.05 and p<0.01). Systolic, diastolic blood pressure and arterial pulse rate between the controls and the studied subjects were not significant (p>0.05). Soil and water samples were analyzed for diazinon and total endosulfan (α-, β-endosulfan and endosulfan sulfate), using high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) with UV detection to evaluate the pesticide residue levels accumulated in the farms during regular pesticide applications. Mean concentrations of β-endosulfan in duplicate soil samples detected in two farms were 0.54 mg/kg and 0.40 mg/kg. α-endosulfan and endosulfan sulphate were not detected in the soil samples. Furthermore, there were no detectable residues of pesticides observed in water samples.
Keywords/phrases: Degradation products; Farm workers; Health effects; Pesticide residues; Ventilatory capacity
Ethiop. J. Biol. Sci., 10(1): 73-94, 2011