A multi-modality assessment of peripheral nerve function in organophosphate-pesticide applicators

J Occup Environ Med. 1999 May;41(5):405-8. doi: 10.1097/00043764-199905000-00010.


Health effects from chronic, low-level exposure to organophosphate pesticides have not been studied extensively and are not well-established. This report follows up a study in New York State in which a cohort of 90 male pesticide applicators were found to have increased vibration sensitivity thresholds, compared with a matched sample drawn from the general population. This investigation examined the nature and extent of peripheral nerve abnormalities in a small subgroup of the original cohort. Of the nine subjects studied, four had clinical evidence of peripheral neuropathic dysfunction, and one who was normal physiologically showed electrophysiological abnormalities. The remaining four showed no clinical, electrophysiologic, or quantitative signs or other abnormalities. This study adds to the growing evidence that organophosphates are toxic to the peripheral nervous system at levels of exposure that do not induce acute or subacute symptomatology.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Electrophysiology
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Insecticides / poisoning*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiopathology
  • Occupational Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Occupational Diseases / physiopathology
  • Occupational Exposure
  • Organophosphorus Compounds*
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / physiopathology
  • Sensory Thresholds / physiology


  • Insecticides
  • Organophosphorus Compounds