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.