Pesticide poisoning and respiratory disorders in Colorado farm residents

J Agric Saf Health. 2009 Oct;15(4):327-34. doi: 10.13031/2013.28887.


Respiratory hazards significantly contribute to the burden of occupational disease among farmers. Pesticide exposure has been linked to an increased prevalence of respiratory symptoms in several farming populations. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the association between respiratory symptoms and pesticide poisoning in a cross-sectional survey of farm residents. A total of 761 farm operators and their spouses, representing 479 farms in northeastern Colorado, were recruited from 1993 to 1997. A personal interview asked whether the resident had experienced a pesticide poisoning and several respiratory conditions including cough, allergy, wheeze, and organic dust toxic syndrome (ODTS). Spirometry testing was performed on 196 individuals. Logistic regression was used to model the association of pesticide poisoning with respiratory conditions, and linear regression was used to model the relationship of pesticide poisoning and forced vital capacity (FVC) and forced expiratory volume (FEV1). In unadjusted models, pesticide poisoning was associated with all four respiratory conditions, and stayed significant in adjusted models of allergies and cough in non-smokers. In age- and gender-adjusted models, pesticide poisoning was significantly associated with lower FVC and FEV1 in current smokers and in those who were not heavy drinkers. Although this study should be reproduced in a larger sample, it suggests that further evaluation of the respiratory effects of pesticide exposure is warranted.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Agricultural Workers' Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Agricultural Workers' Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Agriculture
  • Colorado / epidemiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Forced Expiratory Volume
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Pesticides / poisoning*
  • Respiratory Tract Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Respiratory Tract Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Spirometry
  • Vital Capacity
  • Young Adult


  • Pesticides