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Title: Investigation into the neurological and neurobehavioural effects of long-term agrichemical exposure among deciduous fruit farm workers in the Western Cape, South Africa
Authors: London, Leslie
Department of Community Health, University of Cape Town
Keywords: TOXICITY
Date: Oct-1994
Publisher: Department of Community Health, University of Cape Town
Abstract: It is increasingly being recognised that agrichernical exposure may have adverse chronic health effects in humans, particularly on central nervous system function. However, much of this evidence sterns from studies relating to the effects of acute intoxications (i.e. short-term high dose exposures) and little data exist on the chronic effects of long-term low-dose exposures to agrichernicals in the absence of acute poisoning. Such a finding would have substantial public health implications for prevention and control of chronic morbidity and mortality. This is particularly important in South Africa, where a sizeable portion of the rural population are employed in agricultural work, often under extremely unhealthy living and working conditions, and where occupational agrichernical exposures appear to be substantial. To address this question, this study investigated the prevalence of neurological and neurobehavioural abnormalities amongst 247 fruit farm workers in the Kouebokkeveld in the Western Cape, of whom 163 were current agrichernical applicators. Outcomes measured included neurological symptoms, peripheral vibration sense, motor tremor, as well as performance on the World Health Organisation Neurobehavioural Core Test Battery (WHO NCTB) and a set of neurobehavioural tests based on the Information Processing model of cognitive psychology. These latter tests have been developed in South Africa for subjects of low educational levels and aim to by-pass the powerful effects of culture that complicate traditional neuropsychological testing, which may mask the smaller effects due to occupational chemical exposures. Cumulative, and average lifetime intensity of exposure to organophosphates were estimated using a job-exposure matrix based on a combination of secondary industry data, interview reports and farmer records. Confounders measured included age, education, smoking and alcohol habits, non-occupational exposure to agrichernicals and other potential neurotoxins, past medical history and usage of personal protective equipment...
Description: Pages 147, 148, 198 and 217 missing in v. 1
Pages 7, 96, 97, 143, 144 and 167 missing in v. 2
Project Number: 910275
Project Title: Agrochemicals and Farmworkers (South Africa)
Access: IDRC Only
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