"EFFECT OF EXPOSURE TO ORGANOPHOSPHATE PESTICIDES ON PLASMA CHOLINESTERASE ACTIVITY AND PULMONARY VENTILATORY FUNCTIONS AMONG AGRICULTURE WORKERS"
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The study was carried out on fourty four (44) workers randomly selected frm the section of insecticides in the ministry of agriculture in Sharkia Governorate, and twenty one (21) workers were selected randomly from the administrative and security sections who have never been exposed to organophosphate pesticides (opp) as a control group of comparable age and socioeconomic standard. The aim of the study is assessment of opp on plasma cholinesterase (Ch. E) activity and pulmonary ventilatory functions. Subjects of both groups were interviewed and examined using questionnaire, clinical examination and determination of cholinesterase enzyme activity in the plasma was measured for every worker of the exposed group before and after 6 months of exposure to opp (the first measure was considered the base line) also, the test was similarly repeated for the workers of the control group 6 months apart. Kidney & liver functions were investigated for every subject of both groups and the pulmonary ventilatory functions were measured also for every subject in both groups. (The pumenary ventilatory functions were done before and after 6 hours work shift with exposure to opp either by handling or spraying). It was found that after 6 months of exposure to opp, (9) workers (20.45%) had 25- 30% lowering of the base line plasma Ch. E activity which was measured after one month vacation away of job. There was a statistiCally significant difference between the mean values of plasma Ch. E activity before and after 6 months of exposure 3.09±3.12 & 9.05+3.14 uniti respectively) among the exposed group workers. The control group workers (21) workers who have never been exposed to (opp) had higher values of Ch.E activity than those of the exposed group workers. Liver and kidney fuctions were assessed to exclude liver & kidney deseases as contributing factors in lowering Ch. E activity. It was found that (33.3%) of exposed workers with lowered Ch.E activity complained of symptoms of peripheral neuropathy in comparison with (22.9%) of exposed workers with normal Ch.E activity, also (44.4%) and (25.7%) of exposed workers with lowered and normal Ch.E activity show signs of neuropathy, there is no statistically significant difference, this suggests that there is no relationship between the degree of lowering of Ch.E activity and development of opp-induced peripheral neuropathy. Exposure to opp had an adverse acute effect on the pulmonary ventilatory functions proved by the statistically significant lowering in post-shift measurements of pulmonary ventilatory function among the exposed group workers. The study recommended the importance of biological monitoring of plama Ch.E activity and measuring the pulmonary ventilatory functions as important tools in detecting the hazardous exposure to opp before . developing toxicity.