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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 26  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 100-104

Morbidity profile and cholinesterase levels among sprayers in selected tea plantations in South India

1 Department of Community Medicine, PK DAS Institute of Medical Sciences, Palakkad, Kerala, India
2 Department of Community Medicine, St John's Medical College, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Radhika Kannan
Department of Community Medicine, PK DAS Institute of Medical Sciences, Vaniyamkulam, Palakkad, Kerala - 679 522
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijoem.ijoem_183_21

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Background: The tea plantation industry is composed of a complex chain of workers whose functions often overlap. There has been an extensive use of pesticides in this sector, and in the long term, these can have detrimental effects on the chemical sprayers working in the tea plantations. Aims: To assess the morbidities related to pesticide toxicity and document the most recent plasma cholinesterase levels among the pesticide sprayers working in selected tea plantations in South India. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted among 290 chemical sprayers in selected tea plantations in South India after approval from the Institutional Ethics Committee and permission from the plantations. A structured interview schedule was administered by face-to-face interview with the selected sample. The blood cholinesterase detection done at the Estate Hospital was documented by the interviewer. Results: The mean age of the participants was 45.6 ± 8.5 years and all of them were males. About 35.2% of the participants had reported at least one symptom of organophosphorus toxicity. The most common symptom was headache (21.7%) followed by itching of the eyes (20%) and watering of the eyes (16.2%). The blood cholinesterase values were normal in most of the sprayers in the study and only four (1.4%) sprayers had values less than the reference range. There was a significant association between the duration of work, method of spraying, and the blood cholinesterase levels indicating that greater duration of exposure and more direct contact with the chemical raise the cholinesterase levels significantly. Conclusion: The symptoms of pesticide toxicity were reported among the sprayers. The blood cholinesterase levels were normal for most of them.


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