Biosci. Biotech. Res. Comm. 8(2):
Adverse health effects of pesticide exposure in workers of a pesticide manufacturing factory
Sharique A Ali, Shoeb A. Khan1, Ishrat Naaz and Ayesha S. Ali *
1Jawaharlal Nehru Hospital and Research Centre, Bhopal 462001 India
Post Graduate Department of Biotechnology and Zoology, Sai•a Science College,
A questionnaire based survey of workers was conducted from a pesticide formulating factory situated in Bhopal and the data tabulated from it re!ect the severity of clinical manifestations which the workers have to suffer. Diseases such as eye problems, respiratory problems, digestive and abdominal complications and neuromuscular symptoms were found to be increased with the pesticide exposure. The present investigation highlights the reality of the situa- tion and severity of the problems in factories in developing countries and also emphasizes on the need of more such studies to be conducted. The persistent occurrence of health and disease implications as observed in the presently evaluated pesticide exposed factory workers, their working conditions, precautions and the health risks need to be given considerable attention both by biomedical scientists and the government authorities.
KEY WORDS: PESTICIDE EXPOSURE; NEUROMUSCULAR SYMPTOMS; RESPIRATORY DISORDERS.
The modernization and innovation in industries and rapid increase in chemicals and hazardous pollutants in recent years has not only resulted in unsafe working conditions but has created problems of occupational health hazards (Amer et al. 2002; Cooper et al. 2004; Cocco et al. 2005 Emam et al., 2012, Colmenares et al., 2013).
Pesticides came into existence to combat diseases and to increase food production and their value in preserving
Received 2nd September, 2015
Accepted after revision 14th November, 2015 BBRC Print ISSN:
©A Society of Science and Nature Publication, 2015. All rights reserved.
Online Contents Available at: http//www.bbrc.in/
valuable crops from the attack of pests and in destroy- ing vectors of communicable diseases is unquestionable. Enhanced farm productivity and inexpensive control of vector born diseases were the main bene"ts brought by pesticides. Several previous studies have shown that the situation of pesticidal effects on all living beings, including humans and their environment and the vari- ous food chains are in a serious threat of contamination. These studies make it clear that the global use of pesti- cides is increasing at a tremendous pace and so are the
biological effects assuming giant proportions, (Emam et al. 2012 Colmnares et al., 2013 Choudhary et al 2014).
In view of the importance of the toxicological effects of pesticides on almost every organism and its sur- roundings, importance has to be given on their effects on higher animals including man.The astronomical increase of pesticide use and the magni"cation of health hazards in man haveattracted the attention of biochem- ists and toxicologists to investigate in detail the physi- ological and biochemical manifestation of pesticides. We have enormous data in literature concerning the effects of pesticides on plants, animals and laboratory animals.
The studies were focused because of the decline in population of aquatic animals (Tilak et al. 2004; Gul 2005; Besser et al. 2005), birds (Perry 1990), and useful insects due to the intense application of pesticides. Since human beings are at the highest end of the food chain they also accumulate insecticides in various tissues as reported earlier. The maximum risk of pesticides is to those who manufacture, formulate and handle them. The incidence of occupational exposure to human beings engaged in pesticide factories is more pronounced in developing and poor countries where safety measures and standards are followed only on papers, (Jeyaratnam et al. 1987; Forget 1991 Ali et al., 1995
Interestingly, in literature it becomes evident that though majority of severe cases of occupational haz- ards by pesticides occurred in tropical
The present investigation highlights the reality of the situation and severity of the problems in this and other such factories and also emphasizes on the need of such studies to be conducted. In view of the severity of the problem and particularly the lacunae in informa- tion with regard to the signs and symptoms on general health of pesticide exposed factory workers, the present study was undertaken and the "ndings will provide an opportunity to raise voice against such environmental mismanagement, which in the past have even lead to human destruction in catastrophic manner. People have not forgotten the Bhopal Gas Tragedy of 1984, the big- gest of the chemical disasters in history.
Sharique A. Ali et al.
MATERIAL AND METHODS
The present study was conducted in one of the major pesticide formulating and manufacturing factories of Bhopal, India where the actual working conditions were considerably standard and the workers did not use masks, gloves, gumboots or any protective apparel as required. It was observed that they worked in stuffy rooms without proper ventilation and only tied a cotton cloth around their mouth, working on an average for 10 to 12 hours in hot and humid conditions, on a daily wage basis. The temperature of their working place ranged from
A total number of 41 human subjects were studied for a period of two years with several obstacles for fear of being threatened or the workers being "red from their jobs. The subjects were studied after three, six and nine to twelve months of pesticide exposure. A group com- prising eleven workers who left their job due to severity of their ailment was also studied as withdrawal group. All the workers were males and ranged between 25 to 40 years of age and belonged to low income group. The subjects in each group were compared with external group of control subjects of the same age,
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
On the basis of information collected from pesticide fac- tory workers in the questionnaire, the results have been tabulated (Table 1).
The data show that the major type of signs and symptoms involving ophthalmological, respiratory, abdominal, general weakness and neuromuscular were quite frequently observed in three, six and nine to twelve month of pesticide exposed workers. The extent of manifestations has been divided into severe, moder-
OMMUNICATIONSC ESEARCHR IOTECHNOLOGYB IOSCIENCEB FACTORY MANUFACTURING PESTICIDE A OF WORKERS IN EXPOSURE PESTICIDE OF EFFECTS HEALTH ADVERSE 210
Table 1: Showing sign and symptoms in occupationally exposed pesticide factory workers
.al et Ali .A Sharique
ate and mild. Six workers out of 41 complained moder- ate blinking/watering of eyes; while "fteen complained of mild type;whereas twenty complained mild to severe pain and burning in their eyes. Mild in!ammation in the eyes was observed in eighteen cases while "ve subjects complained of moderate type of ocular in!ammation. Three subjects also reported moderate blurring of vision while twelve complained mild temporary blurred vision, which could be treated by washing of eyes with water, near normal conditions returned after a layoff of three to four days.
With regard to abdominal and respiratory problems in three months exposed group, two workers reported moderate dif"culty in breathing while twelve reported mild and heavy dif"culty in breathing. Moderate pal- pitation was also observed in four cases while it was mild in others. Twelve out of forty one subjects com- plained of moderate loss of appetite while
It was observed that out of the forty one exposed factory workers in the three months exposure group, majority of the symptoms were of mild nature while the six month exposure group showed moderate signs and symptoms of abdominal discomfort, respiratory compli- cation and neuromuscular problems. All these problems were found to be very common and of severe nature in the
During the last many decades the use of chemicals has increased rapidly since it has provided the agricul- turists and hygienists a most desirable and useful tool to protect lives as well as it has helped in avoiding destruc- tion of man’s food crops. Coupled with this, it has also proved to be a curse on the living creatures exposed directly or indirectly to pesticides including human beings. The "ndings presented here based on question- naire of the occupationally exposed pesticide factory workers provide an insight into the signs and symptoms of ill effects of pesticideexposure on human beings.
Sharique A. Ali et al.
In accordance with the study conducted by Rastogi et al. (1989), we have reported that occupational expo- sure to pesticides has a direct link to the respiratory ail- ment/disorders as found presently in the exposed work- ers. In this regard the work of Kesavachandran et al. (2006) is worth mentioning, as they havereported that various health problems like respiratory, gastrointesti- nal, ocular and dermal areassociated with exposure of pesticides among workers engaged in pesticide spraying in mangoplantations without any safety considerations. Earlier, Hayes et al. (1971) and Sand"er et al. (1972) in extensive studies on the effects of wide spectrum of pesticides on several factory workers reported that on a whole, these subjects had no greater mortality than the control population; however, there were subtle bio- chemical disturbances of undetermined signi"cances in their studies. Blood glucose along with other biochemi- cal factors was not in!uenced by pesticide exposure. There were no differences in blood and urine tests of exposed and control workers. These pesticides may impose sub clinical stress on the human body though no overt diseases could be uncovered. In another exten- sive study conducted by Namba (1972), it was observed that hyperglycemia and glycosuria occurred in patients with severe parathion poisoning. Similarly Morgan et al. (1978) reported high levels of blood glucose in workers following pesticide exposure.
In 1980, Bhatnagar et al. provided important infor- mation regarding the effects of pesticidal stress amongst pesticide factory workers in Agra. The workers found that blood sugar was signi"cantly low in the factory workers though the workers had hypercholesterolemia, which was the result of high carbohydrate rich diet, nor- mally consumed by such workers.
The present data tabulated from the questionnaire re!ect that the severity of manifestations following pesticide exposure such as ophthalmological problems, respiratory disorders, digestive and abdominal compli- cation and neuromuscular symptoms depends on the duration of exposure of pesticides, being minimum in three months exposure group and maximum in one year group.
In agreement with the study of Misra et al. (1988) weconclude that incidence of neuromuscular manifesta- tions such as numbness in lower and upper extremities, tremor, palpitation and breathlessness are all associated with the enzyme cholinesterase which gets inhibited by the pesticide contamination. It was also observed that workers who had exposed themselves for more than six months in such factories where there are no protec- tive measures have high risk of cardiac, respiratory and neuromuscular problems such as hypertension, ineffec- tive motor control, stroke and paralysis. Similarly other problems such as diabetes and reproductive failure may
Sharique A. Ali et al.
also linked to continuous pesticide exposure as found in animal studies (Khan & Ali 1993;
Ali,SA, Khan SA,& Ali S. Ali (1995).Enforcement of environ- mental laws and regulations. Environmental Conservation Cambridge University Press UK 22(01): 77.
Amer M, Metwalli M& Abu
Besser JM, Wang N, Dwyer FJ, Mayer FL Jr. & Ingersoll CG (2005). Assessing contaminant sensitivity of endangered and threatened aquatic species: part II. Chronic toxicity of copper and pentachlorophenol to two endangered spe- cies and two surrogate species. Archives Environmental Contamination&Toxicology 48(2):
Bhatnagar VK. (1980) Effects of pesticidal stress amongst pes- ticide factory workers in Agra, India. Public Health London 94:
Choudhary A, A S Ali and S A Ali. (2014). Adverse health effects of organophosphate pesticides among occupation- ally exposed farm sprayers : A case study of Bhopal Madhya Pradesh, India Asian Journal of Biomedical and Pharmaceuti- cal Sciences Vo.4 (35)
Choudhary A and Ayesha S. Ali (2014) Organophosphate pes- ticide exposure induces neurological disorders in the farm sprayers of Bhopal, Biosc.Biotech Res.Comm Vol 7 No.1
Cocco P, Fadda D, Ibba A,Melis M, Tocco MG & Atzeri S. (2005).Reproductive outcome in DDT applicators. Environ- mental Research 98(1):
Cooper GS, Martin SA, Longnecker MP, Sandler DP&Germolec DR. (2004).Associations between plasma DDE levels and immunologic measures in
Emam SJ, Salehcheh M,HaghighizadehMH &Jazayeri SMHM. (2012). Occupational exposure to pesticides among farmers. Pakistan Journal of Medical Sciences
Forget G. (1991).Pesticide and the third world. Journal of Toxi- cology & Environmental Health 32:
Gul A. (2005).Investigation of acute toxicity of chloropyrifos- methyl on Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticusL.) larvae. Chem- osphere 59(2):
Heyes WJ. (1971). Studies on exposure during the use of anti- cholinesterase pesticides. Bulletin of World Health Organiza- tion 44:
Jeyaratnam JJ, Lun KC &Phoon WO.(1987). Survey of acute pesticide poisoning among agriculture worker s in four Asian countries.Bulletin of World Health Organization 65:
Kesavachandran CN, Rastogi SK, MathurN, Siddiqui MKJ, Singh VK, Bihari V&Bharti RS. (2006). Health status among pesticide applicators at a mango plantation in India Journal of Pesticide Safety Education8:
Khan SA & Ali SA.(1993). Assessment of certain hematological responses of factory workers exposed to pesticides. Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology 51(5):
Misra UK, Nag D, Khan WA & Ray PK. (1988). A study of nerve conduction velocity, late responses and neuromuscular syn- apse functions in organophosphate workers in India. Archives of Toxicology 61(6):
Morgan DP& Lin LI. (1978). Blood organochlorine pesticide concentration, clinical haematology and biochemistry in workers occupationally exposed to pesticides. Archiveof Envi- ronmental Contamination & Toxicology 7:
Namba T. (1972).Cholinesterase inhibition by organophos- phorus compounds and its clinical effects. Bulletin of World Health Organization 44:
Perry VH, Brown MC, Lunn ER, Tree P &Gordon S. (1990). Evidence that very slow wallerian degeneration in C57BL/Ola mice is an intrinsic property of the peripheral nerve. European Journal Neuroscience 2(9):
Rastogi SK, Gupta BN, Husain T, Mathur N &Garg N. (1989). Study of respiratory impairment among pesticide sprayers in Mango Plantations. American Journal of Industrial Medicine
Sandi"er SH,Keil JE, Finklea JF &Richard HF.(1972). Pesticide effects on occupationally exposed workers: a summary of four years observation of Industry& farm volunteers in South Cali- fornia. IMSIndustrial Medicine & Surgery 41(5):
Tilak KS, Veeraiah K &Rao DK. (2004). Toxicity and bioac- cumulation of chloropyrifos in Indian carp Catla catla (Ham- ilton), Labeo rohita Hamilton and Cirrhinus mrigla (Hamilton). Bulletin of Environmental Contamination&Toxicology 73(5):