Environmental Pollution and Health Effects of Chemicals in Developing Countries: A Study on Pesticide Problem in Malaysia

Research Project , Research Report 2001

Kazuhito YOKOYAMA Department of Public Health, Graduate School of Medicine, the Univ. of Tokyo
Hajime SATO Department of Public Health, Graduate School of Medicine, the Univ. of Tokyo
Shunichi ARAKI National Institute of Industrial Health / the Univ. of Tokyo(Research Partners)
Rusli Bin NORDIN Department of Community Medicine, School of Medical Sciences /School of Dental Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia Health Campus, MALAYSIA

Abstract

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.

Keywords:

Developing countries, environmental pollution, health effects, pesticides, safety handling practice