Organochlorine Pesticide Exposure Among Agricultural Workers Biology Essay

A old survey suggested that banned organochlorine pesticides were being used to protect illegal harvests from plagues. The survey herein explored the exposure of persons populating in a part with such harvests. Samples from 99 persons were collected during 2005 and 2006 and organochlorine pesticides were quantified utilizing chromatography in serum samples. We detected heptachlor ( 72.73 % ) , 4,4-DDE ( 19.19 % ) , aldrin ( 15.15 % ) , ?-chlordane ( 12.12 % ) , dieldrin ( 11.11 % ) , ?-chlordane ( 10,10 % ) , ?-endosulfan ( 8.08 % ) , endosulfan ( 6.06 % ) , ?-endosulfan ( 5.05 % ) , oxychlordane ( 3.03 % ) , 4,4-DDT ( 3.03 % ) , and 2,4-DDT ( 2.02 % ) . Heptachlor had a skewed and negative distribution ( average: 8.69 ng/l and upper limit: 43.8 ng/l ) . A planar biplot suggested that mixtures present were endosulfan/4,4-DDT, aldrin/?-chlordane, and oxychlordane/?-endosulfan/dieldrin. We did n’t place variables associated with exposure degrees. These informations suggest that banned organochlorine pesticides are used. This is an illustration of research in a war context, where the job related with pesticides is complex, and their deductions go beyond a toxicological or epidemiological job.

Cardinal words: Organochlorine pesticides ; agribusiness ; communities ; husbandmans ; Colombia.


Coca ( Erythroxylum coca ) and poppy ( Papaver somniferum ) are cultivated in Colombia, although such activities are considered illegal. Harmonizing to appraisals by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, coca production ranged from 600 to 640 metric dozenss yearly between 2004-2007.1 In response to this job, the Colombian authorities has implemented assorted schemes to eliminate illegal harvests. An of import intercession is chemical obliteration with the weedkiller glyphosate, which has been used since 1984, with some brief breaks during which other weedkillers were used.2

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In recent surveies on possible inauspicious effects of glyphosate any banned pesticides were detected in environmental samples from parts with illegal crops.8 This suggested that some organochlorine pesticides may be used by coca or poppy agriculturists to protect their harvests, even though Colombia has restrictive statute law sing its usage. If this is the instance, its usage could hold inauspicious effects on human wellness, particularly for those exposed as a consequence of their work in these activities.9 In this state during about four decennaries DDT was used to protect different licit harvests, nevertheless in 1986 its usage was restricted to the malaria obliteration plan. Although really there is a batch of DDT stored in governmental wine makers, it was wholly banned in 1993 ( S & A ; aacute ; nchez ) . After other organochlorine pesticides were banned since their inauspicious effects on worlds, animate beings and/or ecosystems, following similar actions in another states ( see Table 1 ) .

Colombia is localized in the Torrid Zones, therefore rainfall, temperature, sunshine, and micro-organisms are of import elements involved in pesticide dissipation. Rainfall is chiefly responsible for the rinsing off of pesticides from their intervention sites. In parts with tropical temperatures vaporisation of pesticides tends to be greater than temperate parts. In the Torrid Zones sunshine is intense, doing direct photolytic effects ( photodecomposition ) and faster pesticide debasement. Higher microbic activities and therefore enhanced microbic debasement have been observed in tropical temperatures ( Magallona ) . The behaviour of these elements suggests that pesticide dissipation occurs more quickly in tropical environments ( Racke ) . Although there are few surveies about this subject in Colombia ( chiefly in coastal environment ) ( Castro ) , theoretically the simple sensing of organochlorine pesticides suggests existent illegal usage or during the old old ages.

Peasant agriculturists may prefer to work in illicit harvests because they can bring forth far higher net incomes than with legitimate harvests. If they use banned pesticides is hard that they inform to governments about exposure and related inauspicious effects. They would be perpetrating a dual offense harmonizing to Colombian jurisprudence. These unseen and disregarded persons live with built-in conditions of exposure and are frequently neglected by wellness services. Furthermore, it is good known that exposure to toxic agents among vulnerable populations is a job of environmental justice.10 Therefore, a precedence should be to research exposure degrees and possible inauspicious wellness effects. It is, nevertheless, hard and hazardous to carry on surveies such as the one herein, where the research squad could be a victim of force in these parts.

The aim of this survey was to measure the concentrations of 13 organochlorine pesticides in persons populating in parts where illegal harvests are cultivated. This showing survey was possible because an appraisal of the wellness effects potentially associated with pesticides related with illegal coca or opium poppy harvests was performed. This was a alone chance to research the presence of some banned pesticides among a population normally forgotten by wellness governments. In Colombia there are merely two old surveies about organochlorine pesticides concentrations among different populations realized in 1973 and 1986 ( Guerra ; Hern & A ; aacute ; ndez ) , therefore this new survey permits to realize information about exposure to banned pesticides. The rating of exposure to permitted pesticides, every bit good as work conditions, is published elsewhere.11

Materials and methods

During 2005 and 2006, a cross-sectional survey was conducted with 112 agricultural workers from the following Colombian provinces: Antioquia, Guajira, Guaviare, Huila, Magdalena, Putumayo, Santander, and Tolima. The study included demographic, occupational, toxicological and clinical informations of agricultural workers. The alone inclusion standard was that participants had used pesticides in farming activities during the past two old ages. The workers were informed about the ends of the survey, and those who voluntarily agreed to take part separately provided written informed consent before they were administered a questionnaire and had a blood sample taken. This survey was approved by the Research and the Ethics Technical Committee of the National Institute of Health, Colombia.

Managing of samples and quantification of pesticides. Blood samples ( 10ml ) were drawn from an arm vena and collected in tubings without decoagulant. After coagulating, serum was separated by centrifugation. Serum samples were instantly frozen and sent to the Environmental and Occupational Health Group at the Colombian National Institute of Health. Organochlorine pesticides were quantified by gas chromatography. The 13 pesticides studied were: heptachlor, ?-chlordane, ?-chlordane, oxychlordane, aldrin, dieldrin, ?-BHC, 4,4-DDE 2,4-DDT, 4,4-DDT, ?-endosulfan, ?-endosulfan, and endosulfan sulphate.

Statistical methods. First, pesticide concentrations were described based on the per centum of noticeable consequences, and cardinal inclination and scattering were measured ( average, standard divergence, 25th, 50th, 75th and 90th percentiles, and minimal and maximal values ) . Merely heptachlor was detected in more than 70 % of persons. Since it had a skewed and negative distribution ( P & A ; lt ; 0.001, lopsidedness and kurtosis trial for normalcy ) , its distribution was explored utilizing meats denseness estimators,12 a non-parametric manner of gauging the chance denseness map of a random variable. The little sample size did non allow a more elaborate analysis of other pesticides. Finally, mixtures of pesticides were investigated with a standardised planar biplot, which is a multivariate graphical method that expresses the variance-covariance of the variables, the values of the observations in relation to the variables, and the Euclidean distances between observations.13 All analyses were performed with the Stata 11 statistical plan ( Stata Corporation, College Station, Texas ) .


Table 1 shows the organochlorine pesticide concentrations detected. Note that information was used for merely 99 persons. Some persons ( n=13 ) were excluded because their serum samples could non be processed. All organochlorine pesticides, except heptachlor, were detected in less than 20 % of persons. ?-BHC was non detected among participants. An of import determination was the noteworthy negative dissymmetry in concentration distributions.

Table 2 shows the chief features of survey participants harmonizing to whether or non heptachlor was detected. There were no differences with respect to sex, age, instruction degree, occupational exposure, usage of personal protective equipment, or sentiments about the authorities ‘s chemical obliteration plan. The lone difference found was related to geographical location, due to sparse exposure to heptachlor in the province of Antioquia. Additionally, we explored whether or non 40 different commercial pesticides were associated with the presence of heptachlor, but we did non observe differences between exposure groups ( with and without heptachlor ) .

Figure 1 shows the meat denseness chance secret plan of heptachlor serum degrees utilizing 3.2938 as the smoothing parametric quantity. Note that most participants had low concentrations & A ; lt ; 20 ppb ( ng/L ) , although a few agricultural workers had concentrations above 40 ppb ( ng/L ) . Figure 2 shows the planar biplot of 12 organochlorine pesticides and serum degrees. Note that the bulk of persons had really low concentrations. It was possible to place the undermentioned three mixture forms among agricultural workers with higher serum degrees: oxychlordane, ?-endosulfan, and dieldrin ; aldrin and ?-chlordane ; and endosulfan and 4,4-DDT.


The chief consequences of this survey were the low exposure degrees to organochlorine pesticides observed in the bulk of take parting persons, with merely a few persons with high degrees of organochlorine pesticides. Since the tropical clime of studied parts the presence of these pesticides suggests cloak-and-dagger use of banned pesticides in Colombia, which is consistent with the old study where organochlorine pesticides were detected in H2O in similar regions.8 In add-on, our survey was able to observe a higher figure of pesticides.

The presence of heptachlor suggests relentless usage, given this pesticide and chlordane holding been banned since 1988. In add-on, two old surveies in Colombia have reported heptachlor in human blood. The first, in 1973, detected heptachlor in provincials ( average 4 ppb, lower limit 2, and maximal 26 ) ,14 and in 1980 heptachlor was found in mill workers ( average 11 ppb ) , workers using pesticides ( between 0.5 to 0.75 ppb ) , and dwellers from rural parts ( average 0.25 ppb ) .15 In a recent meta-analysis, heptachlor was the lone pesticide associated with the happening of chest malignant neoplastic disease, and hence exposure to heptachlor must non be overlooked.16

This survey was explorative and had some methodological restrictions. The primary limitation is the deficiency of representativeness of findings, and it is hence non possible to generalize consequences to the full Colombian population. This was due to the logistic troubles in parts with illegal harvests and informal reserves groups, where there is a big grade of population mobility. This is one of several good known challenges for research workers analyzing vulnerable populations.17 Health research in war contexts is, so, a challenge to research workers. Obtaining informations can be really hard and hazardous because research squads may be threatened by any of the sides in an armed struggle. A few old ages ago, Jimba recognized this trouble during a medical research survey with kids from the Gaza Strip.18 Nevertheless, scientific research in these conditions can be used to work out some of the jobs present during times of war. Good illustrations are surveies on malaria, dysentery, epidemic typhus, wartime nutrition, and infections due to lesions among Allied soldiers during World War II,19,20 every bit good as the mental wellness of kids populating in war zones.21

In decision, where environmental wellness is concerned, societal exposure is frequently associated with jobs of unfairness that are characterized by greater exposure, albeit known or unknown, to agents potentially harmful to human health.22 The consequences of our survey indicate that merely a little proportion of persons were exposed to organochlorine pesticides, and that degrees of organochlorine pesticides among participants were low, with the exclusion of heptachlor. It suggests that chlordane was the chief pesticide used in parts with illegal harvests, but unluckily we do non cognize whether this pesticide is used straight on coca and poppy harvests or on legal harvests. The organochlorine pesticides used in Colombia during more than 40 old ages were cyclic hydrocarbons, really stable in different ecosystems and non-biodegradable. Their biomagnification and bioaccumulation effects can explicate the presence among these peasants.23 This information will function as a baseline for subsequent appraisals of the environmental and wellness jobs associated with eliminating illegal harvests and pesticides.

Debido al struggle armado Es dif & A ; iacute ; cil tener acciones que vigilen el uso de plaguicidas ***