J Agromedicine. 2018;23(3):270-278. doi: 10.1080/1059924X.2018.1470049.
OBJECTIVE: To determine prevalence of abnormal serum acetylcholinesterase (AChE) and behavioral risks associated behaviors from pesticide exposure.
METHODS: Cross-sectional data were collected from agriculture workers in Trang Province, Thailand in 2013-2014. Agricultural workers in Trang Province filled out questionnaires provided by the Ministry of Public Health and gave blood samples. Risk scores were calculated based on questionnaire responses and a reactive-paper finger-blood test was used to evaluate AChE levels.
RESULTS: A total of 6,222 agricultural workers filled out questionnaires and 3,431 workers gave blood samples. The prevalence of abnormal AChE results was 12.5%. Females had a higher prevalence of abnormal serum AChE levels (15.2%) than males (10.2%). The most common self-reported symptoms were coughing (5.7%), being tired (5.4%), dizziness (5.1%), and dry skin and irritation (4.8%). However, those with abnormal serum AChE levels were most likely to report dizziness (12.4%) as their main symptom. Male agricultural workers had significantly higher risk than female farmers after adjusting for sex and risk level (OR = 1.56, P < 0.05).
CONCLUSIONS: Abnormal serum AChE levels associated with pesticide exposure are associated with AChE levels and symptoms such as coughing, being tired, dizziness, and dry skin and irritation. Educating farmers about the effects of pesticide use and encouraging better personal protective equipment practices could also assist in reducing pesticide exposure.