Environmental pollution of chemical substances has become a significant health problem in developing countries. In the present study, the health effects of pesticide in relation to safety behavior were studied among tobacco-growing farmers in Kelantan, Malaysia. The following results were obtained: Among non-smokers, urinary cotinine levels in farmers were significantly higher than those of controls; farmers with urinary cotinine of 50 ng/ml/m2 or above showed eye symptoms more frequently than those below this level (p<0.05). Farmers who did not wear protective equipment had subjective symptoms more frequently than those who used the equipment (p<0.05); some of these symptoms were seen more frequently in organophosphate (Tamaron) users than in non-users. Furthermore, farmers with high exposure to pyrethroid showed significantly increased complaints of muscle weakness (p<0.05). As tobacco farmers evidence a risk of nicotine poisoning from tobacco leaves, assessment including Green Tobacco Sickness together with effects of pesticides will be necessary; pyrethroid pesticides seem to have adverse health effects though they are believed to less toxic in humans.
Developing countries, environmental pollution, health effects, pesticides, safety handling practice, nicotine, Green Tobacco Sickness