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Pesticide use, allergic rhinitis, and asthma among US farm operators

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  • Alternative Title:
    J Agromedicine
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    Objective: The objective of the study is to examine associations between use of specific pesticides and lifetime allergic rhinitis and current asthma in US primary farm operators. Methods: The 2011 Farm and Ranch Safety Survey data from 11,210 primary farm operators were analyzed. Pesticide use on the farm was determined using an affirmative response to the question of whether the operator ever mixed, loaded, or applied pesticides on their farm in the 12 months prior to the interview. Operators who answered “yes” were further asked about the specific trade name and formulation identifiers of the product they used and personal protective equipment (PPE) used. Data were weighted to produce national estimates. Adjusted prevalence odds ratios (PORs) were calculated using logistic regression. The referent group included operators who did not use any pesticides in the 12 months prior to the interview. Results: Of an estimated 2.1 million farm operators, 40.0% used pesticides, 30.8% had lifetime allergic rhinitis, and 5.1% had current asthma. Insecticide and herbicide use were significantly associated with lifetime allergic rhinitis and current asthma. The use of 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (POR = 1.5; 95% CI 1.2–1.9) and carbaryl (POR = 2.3; 1.4–3.7) was significantly associated with lifetime allergic rhinitis. Of operators using pesticides, 64.9% used PPE the last time they mixed, loaded, or applied pesticides. Conclusions: Pesticide use was associated with lifetime allergic rhinitis and current asthma among farm operators. Further studies are needed to clarify the dose–response relationship between pesticide use and adverse respiratory health effects.
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