Lung function and respiratory symptoms in male Palestinian farmers

Arch Environ Occup Health. 2010 Oct-Dec;65(4):191-200. doi: 10.1080/19338241003730911.


In a cross-sectional study of 250 farmers aged 22 to 77 years, of whom 36.4% are smokers, the authors aimed at describing lung function and respiratory symptoms and to estimate associations with exposures to pesticides and dust. Lung function was measured using a spirometer. Respiratory symptoms and exposure levels were self-reported based on a modified standardized questionnaire. Mean forced vital capacity (FVC) was 4.20 L (SD = 0.93 L), 95.51% of predicted as compared to European standards. Mean forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV(1)) was 3.28 L (SD = 0.80 L), 91.05% of predicted. The authors found high symptom prevalences: 14.0% for chronic cough; 26.4% for wheeze; and 55.2% for breathlessness. There was no clear association between exposure to pesticides or dust and lung function or between such exposures and respiratory symptoms. However, a significant association was found between smoking and respiratory symptoms such as chronic cough, cough with phlegm, and wheezes. The lack of farm exposure associations could be due to improvement in farmers' awareness to pesticides hazards as well as regulations of pesticide import, or because of inherent problems with the experimental design. Farmers who kept animals and poultry seem to have less respiratory symptoms and better lung function.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Agriculture
  • Arabs / statistics & numerical data*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Dust
  • Farmer's Lung / epidemiology
  • Farmer's Lung / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Lung / drug effects
  • Lung / physiology*
  • Lung / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Middle East / epidemiology
  • Occupational Exposure / statistics & numerical data
  • Pesticides / adverse effects
  • Respiratory Function Tests / statistics & numerical data*
  • Smoking / adverse effects
  • Spirometry / statistics & numerical data
  • Young Adult


  • Dust
  • Pesticides