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Farm workers’ health and pesticide residue analysis of three farms in Ethiopia

Abenet Girma
Yalemtsehay Mekonnen
Negussie Megersa


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

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eISSN: 1819-8678