Effects of Lifetime Occupational Pesticide Exposure on Postural Control Among Farmworkers and Non-Farmworkers

J Occup Environ Med. 2016 Feb;58(2):133-9. doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000000655.


Objective: The aim of the study was to assess potential chronic effects of pesticide exposure on postural control, by examining postural balance of farmworkers and non-farmworkers diverse self-reported lifetime exposures.

Methods: Balance was assessed during quiet upright stance under four experimental conditions (2 visual × 2 cognitive difficulty).

Results: Significant differences in baseline balance performance (eyes open without cognitive task) between occupational groups were apparent in postural sway complexity. When adding a cognitive task to the eyes open condition, the influence of lifetime exposure on complexity ratios appeared different between occupational groups. Removing visual information revealed a negative association of lifetime exposure with complexity ratios.

Conclusions: Farmworkers and non-farmworkers may use different postural control strategies even when controlling for the level of lifetime pesticide exposure. Long-term exposure can affect somatosensory/vestibular sensory systems and the central processing of sensory information for postural control.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Emigrants and Immigrants*
  • Farmers*
  • Female
  • Hispanic or Latino*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • North Carolina
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Occupational Exposure / analysis
  • Pesticides / toxicity*
  • Postural Balance / drug effects*
  • Transients and Migrants*


  • Pesticides