This study aims to determine the degree of acetylcholinesterase inhibition and neurological symptoms for each of the psychiatric disorders diagnosed in the farm workers of a rural population in the state of Baja California, Mexico. We conducted a cross-sectional study on 140 agricultural workers (exposed participants). The study was run using the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview Diagnostic Test (MINI), a pre-established questionnaire to diagnose the mental state of each agricultural worker. Analysis of enzymatic activity was carried out using the modified Ellman method. The results showed that, among agricultural workers with slightly inhibited enzymatic activity, 25% met the criteria for the diagnosis of major depression with suicidal attitudes, 23.9% with inhibited enzymatic activity showed generalized anxiety, 23.5% showed combined depression⁻anxiety, and 22% met the criteria for major depression and no psychiatric diagnosis disorder. These results suggest the need for the development of effective public-health strategies to inform farm workers about integrated pesticide management in order to prevent serious health complications.
Keywords: acetylcholinesterase; mental disorders; neurotoxicity; organophosphates; pesticides.