Article Number: PRJA32303008


Vol. 1 Issue 1, pp: (1-10), September 2016.
Article Number: PRJA32303008
Copyright ©2016
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Full Length Research Paper

Occupational exposure to pesticide and associated health problems in Kenya’s floriculture industry

Koros K Kipsengeret 1,2, James M Mbaria2, Gerald M Muchemi2, Philiph M Kitala2, and Laititia W Kanja2

1 Kenya Medical Research Institute, Center for Public Health Research, P.O Box 20752-00202 Nairobi, Kenya.

2 University of Nairobi, Department of Public Health Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Nairobi, P.O. Box 29053-00625, Nairobi, Kenya

Corresponding author. Email: kipsengeret.k@gmail.com

 Received: June 21, 2016  Accepted: August 20, 2016  Published: September 12, 2016

ABSTRACT

Background: Pesticides are widely used in agricultural production to prevent or control pests, diseases, weeds, and other plant pathogens in an effort to reduce or eliminate yield losses and maintain high product quality. Although pesticides are developed through very strict regulation processes to function with reasonable certainty and minimal impact on human health. Non-protective work practices followed by farm workers during spraying of pesticides lead to occupational exposure among them. Despite their popularity and extensive use, pesticides serious concerns about health risks arising from the exposure of farmers when mixing and applying pesticides or working in treated fields.

Objective: This was a comparative prospective cohort study to investigate Illnesses and symptoms associated with pesticide exposure among floricultural workers.

Materials and Methods: A questionnaire based survey was conducted using structured interviews, multiple-visits, and direct field observations among study subjects at baseline and every three months consecutively for forty-eight (48) months and same thing for clinical examination.

Results: Most of the respondents reported getting sick (53%), only 31% of them received medical attention. Majority 58% reported that sickness was as a result of occupational exposure to pesticides during application in the field. A significant proportion of the respondents fifty-three percent (53%) complained of coughing, sneezing, dyspnea and wheezing while fifty-one percent (51%) reported having skin rash, itching and other skin conditions. Significant proportion – forty-nine percent (49%) complained of itchy, painful and tearing eyes. Level of training, Occupation, duration of handling pesticide was significant and strong predictor of reported illnesses.

Conclusion: Unsafe occupational exposure to pesticides causes work-related disease symptoms among floricultural workers.

Key words: Floriculture, pesticide exposure, health risks, symptoms and pesticide legislation