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: (1) Organophosphate and dithiocarbamate pesticides affects peripheral nerve conduction, whereas pyrethroid affects postural balance system. (2) Nonsmoking while spraying, good-sprayer condition, and changing clothes immediately after spraying prevented occurrence of acute symptoms just after pesticide spray in male farmers; in female farmers, wearing a hat while spraying significantly prevented the symptoms. It is thus suggested that subclinical health effects are caused by pesticide use; the effects could be prevented by safety handling of pesticides so that health education seems effective.
Developing countries, environmental pollution, health effects, pesticides, safety handling practice