Review articles

Pesticide exposures and respiratory health in general populations

Ming Ye , Jeremy Beach , Jonathan W. Martin , Ambikaipakan Senthilselvan


Received June 22, 2016,Revised November 10, 2016, Accepted November 18, 2016, Available online December 08, 2016

Volume 29,2017,Pages 361-370

Human exposures to pesticides can occur in the workplace, in the household and through the ambient environment. While several articles have reviewed the impact of pesticide exposures on human respiratory health in occupational settings, to the best of our knowledge, this article is the first one to review published studies on the association between pesticide exposures and human respiratory health in the general populations. In this article, we critically reviewed evidences up to date studying the associations between non-occupational pesticide exposures and respiratory health in general populations. This article also highlighted questions arising from these studies, including our recent analyses using the data from the Canadian Health Measures Survey (CHMS), for future research. We found few studies have addressed the impact of environmental pesticide exposures on respiratory health, especially on lung function, in general populations. In the studies using the data from CHMS Cycle 1, exposures to OP insecticides, pyrethroid insecticides, and the organochlorine pesticide DDT were associated with impaired lung function in the Canadian general population, but no significant associations were observed for the herbicide 2,4-D. Future research should focus on the potential age-specific and pesticide-specific effect on respiratory health in the general population, and repeated longitudinal study design is critical for assessing the temporal variations in pesticide exposures. Research findings from current studies of non-occupational pesticide exposures and their health impact in general population will help to improve the role of regulatory policies in mitigating pesticide-related public health problems, and thereafter providing greater benefit to the general population.

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