Comparison of Urinary Organophosphate Concentrations of Pesticide Sprayers from Sugarcane Farms in Nakhon Sawan Province
Organophosphates (OP) are synthetic chemicals used as insecticides in agriculture. Pesticide sprayers are at risk of exposure to these chemicals. This research is a cross-sectional study that studied OP metabolite levels of pesticide sprayers of sugarcane farmers, and that compared urinary OP levels related to different times of application. The instruments of this study were a pesticide use questionnaire and collected urine samples. OP levels were determined using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). The data were represented by mean, standard deviation, geometric mean, median, and repeated analysis of variance.
Results showed most pesticide sprayers used insecticides 2-4 times/ crop and had an average agricultural work time of about 5.79 hours/day. The level of urinary total diethyl phosphate metabolite between the end of a spraying task and the next day of spraying was significantly different (p<0.05). Also, the concentration of the metabolite on the day following spraying was higher. Moreover, the geometric mean of total urinary OP metabolite before the day of spraying was higher than in other periods.
To conclude, pesticide sprayers on sugarcane farms can be exposed to OP from the spraying task. Despite no spraying task, sprayers still had significant OP levels from their residences where there is insecticide use in the household. Pesticide sprayers should incorporate the safe use of OP to decrease the risk of exposure since pesticides accumulate in the body leading to detrimental health effects.
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