PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to determine the prevalence of respiratory symptoms and its association with the use of agricultural pesticide among crop farmers in three rural communities in Ekiti state, South Western Nigeria.
METHODS: This is a cross sectional study among farmers in three rural communities in Ijero local government in Ekiti state South Western Nigeria from June 2009 to August 2009.Pre-tested structured questionnaire was administered by interviewers to obtain socio-demographic information, respiratory symptoms, co morbidity, tobacco smoking, use of pesticide and pesticide education. Peak expiratory flow rate was measured in 217 farmers.
RESULTS: A total of 228 farmers were enrolled to the study. Mean age was 57.5± 9.0 and the mean duration of farming was 29.9 ± 13.0. Nineteen (8.3%) of the crop farmers mixed or applied pesticide themselves in their farms. Only 2(10.5%) of the 19 farmers that used pesticide used a respiratory protective device. Respiratory symptoms like chronic cough (47.7% vs.16.7%, p=0.001), chronic sputum (42.1% vs.12.4%, p= 0.001), recurrent breathlessness (42.1% vs.9.5%, p= <0.001) chest tightness (5.3% vs. 4.8%, p= 0.92), recurrent wheezing (5.3 % vs. 2.1%, p= 0.56), nasal symptoms (47.4% vs. 16.7%, p=0.001) were more common in farmers who used pesticides compared with those who don't used pesticide. Multivariate analysis showed that farmers using pesticide were more likely to report chronic cough and sputum production, recurrent breathlessness, wheezing and nasal symptoms. Peak expiratory flow rate were reduced in farmers using pesticide (323 ± 217 L/min) when compared those not using pesticide (467 ± 189L/mins) p<0.001.
CONCLUSION: Respiratory symptoms were more prevalent and strongly associated with the use of pesticide among crop farmers, and it could be due to a large proportion of those using pesticide not using protective device.
CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS: Our results support the need to educate and enforce safe pesticide practice among the farmers.
DISCLOSURE: Olufemi Desalu, No Financial Disclosure Information; No Product/Research Disclosure Information