A season-long assessment of acute pesticide poisoning among farmers was conducted in three villages in India. Fifty female cotton growers reported the adverse effects experienced after exposures to pesticides by themselves and by their male relatives (n=47). The study documented the serious consequences of pesticide use for the health of farmers, particularly women field helpers. Typically female tasks such as mixing concentrated chemicals and refilling spraying tanks were as hazardous as direct pesticide application. Of 323 reported events, 83.6% were associated with signs and symptoms of mild to severe poisoning, and 10% of the pesticide application sessions were associated with three or more neurotoxic/systemic signs and symptoms typical of poisoning by organophosphates, which were used in 47% of the applications. Although in 6% of the spray sessions the workers' neurotoxic effects were extremely serious, none sought medical care. Low-income marginal farmers were more often subjected to severe poisoning than were landlords.