Behavioral effects of occupational exposure to organophosphorous pesticides in female greenhouse planting workers

Neurotoxicology. 1999 Oct;20(5):819-26.


51 women employed in gardening enterprises were studied. Of these, 26 performed planting jobs in greenhouses and were occupationally exposed to several organophosphates. The comparison group consisted of 25 women not exposed to neurotoxic chemicals. The groups were similar in terms of age, education, place of habitation, and intake of stimulants and drugs. Exposure determinations were performed during the period when pesticides were intensively used in the greenhouses (March-June). Exposure measurements included air pollution, contamination of skin and clothes, and work timing. The level of total exposure in the planting worker group was low. Psychological examinations were conducted twice: before and after the spraying season, and the Neurobehavioral Core Test Battery recommended by the WHO was administered to all subjects. The results of the psychological tests did not reveal effects of exposure after a single spraying season. Analysis of the results, however, indicated differences between the exposed and control groups on both occasions. The exposed female workers were characterized by longer reaction times and reduced motor steadiness compared to the unexposed workers. In addition, increased tension, greater depression and fatigue, more frequent symptoms of CNS disturbances were observed in the exposed women compared to the controls.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Affect / drug effects
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Behavior / drug effects*
  • Clothing
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Insecticides / analysis
  • Insecticides / toxicity*
  • Nervous System Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Nervous System Diseases / psychology*
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Occupational Exposure / analysis
  • Organophosphorus Compounds*
  • Psychomotor Performance / drug effects
  • Skin / chemistry
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Insecticides
  • Organophosphorus Compounds