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Knowledge, attitude and practices of pesticide use and acetylcholinesterase depression among farm workers in Nepal

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Assessing erythrocyte acetylcholinesterase (AChE) activity in farm workers across agricultural seasons can be used to monitor risks of pesticide exposure. We surveyed a total of 403 households in Nepal and adopted the Test-mate ChE Cholinesterase Test System to monitor AChE activity across season on the 127 individuals of the sampled households. The study aims to (i) document knowledge and practices of pesticide use among farmers and (ii) present the relationship between farmers' reported acute health symptoms and erythrocyte acetylcholinesterase depression. We found low levels of pesticide use hygiene and high levels of individuals' knowledge on the local environmental impacts of pesticide use. Safety measures taken against potential risks of pesticides exposure were inadequate. Exposure to organophosphates significantly reduced AChE activity across season, but was not sufficient enough to claim clinical symptoms whereas exposure to the pyrethroid insecticides and fungicides were sufficient enough to claim acute symptoms of poisoning.
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Keywords: Nepal; acetylcholinesterase; exposure assessment; pesticides; vegetables

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of International Environment and Development Studies (Noragric),Norwegian University of Life Sciences, 1432 Aas, Norway 2: Department of Mathematical Science and Technology,Norwegian University of Life Sciences, 1432 Aas, Norway 3: Aquatic Ecology Centre, Kathmandu University, Dhulikhel, Nepal

Publication date: October 1, 2012

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