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Health Effects of Pesticide Exposure among Filipino Rice Farmers

Satish K. Kedia and Florencia G. Palis

This article discusses the acute and chronic health effects of pesticide exposure among Filipino rice farmers. Data were collected from 50 farmers during 2002 and 2003 using a semi-structured questionnaire to elicit demographic information, various aspects of farming life, types and extent of pesticide use, exposure means, and self-reported acute and chronic illness experiences. Study participants had been farming for 20 years and applying an average of four to six pesticides approximately three times a year. The most common acute health problems reported by farmers were fatigue (52.0%), dizziness (50.0%), and body pain (32.0%). Farmers reported 43 different types of chronic health-related symptoms which were categorized as neurological (noted by 98.0% of farmers), dermal (90.0%), systemic (88.0%), respiratory (88.0%), ophthalmic (82.0%), gastrointestinal/renal (80.0%), and cardiovascular (56.0%). Chronic health problems were significantly lower for farmers who sold emptied pesticide containers (B=-3.479, p=0.01), for those with higher annual household incomes (B=-0.000, p=0.01), and for those who had attained vocational training compared to elementary school alone (B=6.101, p=0.02). Please see six tables of data following the article’s text.

The Applied Anthropologist, No. 1, Vol. 28, 2008, pp 40 - 59

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