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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 24  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 188-193

Prevalence of acute pesticide poisoning among pesticide applicators in cardamom plantations: A cross-sectional study from Idukki District, Kerala

Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, Central University of Kerala, Tejaswini Hills, Periye, Kasaragod, Kerala, India

Correspondence Address:
Ms. Rajeev Jayalakshmi
Assistant Professor, Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, Central University of Kerala, Tejaswini Hills, Periye, Kasaragod, Kerala- 671316
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijoem.IJOEM_72_19

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Background: Pesticide poisoning is a burning occupational health issue across the world. The pesticide use in the cardamom plantations of Idukki district, Kerala, India is one of the world’s highest. However, limited studies addressed its ill effects on the health of pesticide applicators. Aims: To assess the magnitude of acute pesticide poisoning (APP) among pesticide applicators and understand the nature of severity based on their occupational characteristics. Settings and Design: A descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted in 2018. A total of 300 pesticide applicators with minimum 1-year experience (79.3% males) were selected from 30 randomly selected cardamom plantations in Udumbanchola Taluk. Methods: WHO Field Surveys of Exposure to Pesticides Standard Protocol and Murphy’s method of Farmer Self-Surveillance system of pesticide poisoning were used for assessing pesticide exposure and APP, respectively. Statistical analysis used: Descriptive (frequencies) and exploratory statistical analyses (Pearson’s Chi-square test) were done using IBM SPSS 23.0. Results: The prevalence of APP in this study was 100% as all the pesticide applicators reported at least one sign and/or symptom of APP. The mild APP was more prevalent (80.7%), followed by moderate (18.7) and severe (0.60). Decrease in duration and frequency of spraying, use of motor pump sprayer, safe storage and disposal of pesticides, and proper personal hygiene were found to reduce the severity of APP. Conclusion: All the pesticide applicators in cardamom plantations of Idukki are at risk of APP. It is important to train them about the measures to prevent the same.


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