Pesticides: Their Consequences on Health and the Management of Poisoning in Primary Health Care

Background: Individuals and their environment are exposed to the use of pesticides, which is now recognized by the scientific community to be related to an increase in diseases of the endocrine, nervous and reproductive systems. Of note is the reference of the Word Health Organization (WHO) to an annual figure of one million poisonings from pesticides. This constitutes an emergency situation with a need for immediate intervention in order to avoid the absorption of poison, to neutralize the active substance and accelerate its excretion from the human organism. Aim: Review of the effects of the use of pesticides on human health, focusing on prenatal development and childhood, and of the initial management of poisoning by pesticides to minimize the risk of the loss of life, disabilities and of chronic diseases. Method: A search was made of electronic databases for the years 2002-2008, using the key-words: “Pesticides”, “pesticides and childhood”, “acute poisoning”, “poisoning confrontation”, “consequences on health”, “primary care”, alone or in combination. Additional information was retrieved from the Official Journal of the European Union and official publications of the European Commission and the World Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. Results: Pesticide poisoning is very common, due to the multiplicity of pesticides that are in circulation and used daily by humans. Heavy poisonings can be fatal and are usually associated with suicide. The most usual poisonings from pesticides concern the weedkillers and insecticides. The clinical expressions are immediate and life-threatening, as the majority lead to multiorgan dysfunction and cardiac arrhythmia. Conclusions: The dangers related to pesticides are not fully documented, and in particular the long term consequences on health and the aggregate effects of their action on the human organism. The appropriate use of pesticides can ensure both the quality of the environment and the safety and health of the farmers and consumers. Monitoring of the observance of the legal safety measures is essential for public health for the countries where the economy depends on agriculture and livestock. The management of poisoning at the primary level is of vital importance, in view of both the high rate of mortality and morbidity and the cost of hospital treatment.

Category: Volume 51, N 4
Hits: 703 Hits
Created Date: 15-12-2012
Authors: Maria Rekleiti , Panagiotis Kyloudis