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Pesticide Poisoning Symptoms and Other Health Issues. Joanne Kick-Raack State Coordinator, Pesticide Education Programs The Ohio State University Extension. Acute or Chronic?. Acute Effects Immediate “poisoning” or harm Based on LD50 values Most sensitive route determines Signal Word.

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pesticide poisoning symptoms and other health issues

Pesticide Poisoning Symptoms and Other Health Issues

Joanne Kick-Raack

State Coordinator, Pesticide Education Programs

The Ohio State University Extension

acute or chronic
Acute or Chronic?
  • Acute Effects
    • Immediate “poisoning” or harm
    • Based on LD50 values
    • Most sensitive route determines Signal Word
acute or chronic effects
Acute or Chronic Effects?
  • Chronic Effects
    • Long-term effects from small doses over time
    • Not necessarily on label
    • Some information on MSDS
chronic effects
Chronic Effects
  • Carcinogenicity-cancer
  • Mutagenicity-genetic changes
  • Teratogenicity- birth defects
  • Oncogenicity-tumor growth (not necessarily cancers)
  • Liver damage
  • Reproductive disorders-sperm count, sterility, miscarriage
  • Nerve damage
  • Allergenic sensitization
the label and your health
The Label and Your Health
  • Signal word based on the LD50 of the most toxic route of exposure
  • Statement of Practical Treatment is “first aid”
  • Signal word does not indicate chronic toxicity
  • Product can be restricted use for “oncogenicity” although the signal word is Caution
  • Protective equipment, REI’s and harvest intervals protect against acute and chronic effects
material safety data sheets msds
Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS)
  • Provides information on chronic toxicity
  • Refers to the concentrate rather than dilute product
organophosphates and carbamates
Organophosphates and Carbamates
  • Examples: Lorsban, Diazinon, Sevin, Malathion, Furadan and many others
  • Cause of most acute pesticide poisonings
  • Inhibit cholinesterase, affect the nervous system
  • Effect is reversible
  • Monitor with blood tests
signs and sypmtoms of cholinesterase inhibition
Signs and Sypmtoms of Cholinesterase Inhibition
  • Can be confused with flu, or heat exhaustion
  • Mild poisoning symptoms
    • Headache, fatigue, dizziness, loss of appetite, nausea, cramps, diarrhea
    • Blurred vision, excessive tearing
    • Contracted pupils
    • Excessive sweating and salivation (this is not true for heat stress)
    • Slowed heartbeat
    • Rippling of muscles underneath skin
cholinesterase cont d
Cholinesterase cont’d
  • Moderately severe
    • Unable to walk
    • Chest discomfort and tightness
    • Pinpoint pupils
    • Muscle twitching
    • Involuntary urination and bowel movement
  • Severe
    • Incontinence, unconsciousness, seizures
aggregate and cumulative exposure
Aggregate and Cumulative Exposure
  • Food Quality Protection Act –in reexamining pesticides EPA adds all exposures from all pesticides in a group (ex.organophosphates) together to estimate public health risks.
natural pyrethrum pyrethrins and rotenone
Natural Pyrethrum/Pyrethrins and Rotenone
  • Crude pyrethrum is a dermal and respiratory irritant
  • Asthma has occurred after exposures
  • Refined pyrethrins less allergenic but some irritant and sensitizing properties
  • Rotenone has little human hazard
    • Hazardous to fish, birds,
synthetic pyrethroids
Synthetic Pyrethroids
  • Examples: Baythroid, Pounce
  • Synthetic mimics of natural pyrethrins
  • Systemic toxicity by inhalation or skin absorption is low—few human poisonings
  • Dermal and respiratory irritation
    • Stinging, itching, tingling progressing to numbness
natural inorganic insecticides
Natural Inorganic Insecticides
  • Boric Acid and Borates
    • Irritating to skin
    • Infants- “boiled lobster appearance” –redness, followed by peeling of skin
  • Sulfur
    • Dermatitis-skin irritation
    • Irritation of eyes and respiratory tract
  • Most are unlikely to cause severe or frequent poisonings
  • Cause irritant injuries to skin and mucous membranes, dermal sensitization
  • Chlorothalonil’s (Daconil) potential to cause cancer is unclear
  • EBDC’s under FQPA review as group
    • Can degrade to ETU which can produce cancer in mice
    • However, do not appear to be carcinogenic
  • Many can irritate skin, eyes and respiratory track
  • Low systemic toxicity
  • Ex. Some Round-up calls for eye protection
diquat paraquat
  • Paraquat more toxic (orally)
    • Large doses (6-8oz.) produces fatal lung changes.
    • Fluid accumulation in lungs can occur in 24 to 72 hrs. Respiratory failure.
    • Exposure may cause blackening and abnormal growth of nails
  • Diquat affects eye lens and intestinal tract lining—vomiting.
  • Both cause skin irritation and burning
2 4 d and mcpa
2,4-D and MCPA
  • Moderately irritating to skin and mucous membranes
  • May cause burning sensations in nose, sinuses and chest, dizziness
  • Not “agent orange”
  • Agent orange issue was from dioxin contaminant in the manufacture of 2,4,5-T
2 4 d and cancer
2,4-D and Cancer
  • There are no reports that indicate a direct link between 2,4-D exposure and cancer in humans.
  • Some concern about higher rates of a type of cancer, non-Hodgkins lymphoma, among farmers, ag workers and pesticide applicators but different studies are not consistent.
2 4 d and cancer1
2,4-D and Cancer
  • Most studies have not found a relationship between exposure to chlorophenoxy herbicides and soft sarcoma.
  • Current evidence does not indicate that exposures to 2,4-D are linked with an increased incidence of breast cancer in humans or experimental animals.
atrazine and cancer
Atrazine and Cancer
  • Found in drinking water
  • Under special review
  • Based on scientific evidence presented, EPA reclassified atrazine as “not likely to be a human carcinogen”
  • Will be evaluating endocrine disruption
chronic effects and controversy
Chronic Effects and Controversy
  • Cancer
  • Endocrine disruption
    • Infertility and sperm counts
  • Multiple chemical sensitivity
food quality protection act
Food Quality Protection Act
  • All older pesticides must be reevaluated based on new standards
  • Evaluating risk based on cumulative and aggregate exposure
  • New testing for endocrine disruption
  • Higher protection factor for children
endocrine disruption
Endocrine Disruption
  • Hormones, alter bodily functions, development, and growth
  • We are only starting to gather information on which chemicals are endocrine disruptors and at what level they have an effect.
  • FQPA mandates testing of pesticides for endocrine disruption
  • New screening tests must be developed—very difficult
organochlorines and cancer
Organochlorines and Cancer
  • DDT/DDE, dieldrin, chlordane
  • Accumulate in fatty tissues
  • No conclusive evidence
  • Infertile alligators and reduced sperm counts
multiple chemical sensitivity
Multiple Chemical Sensitivity
  • More frequent in women
  • Very controversial whether it is really a disease
agricultural health study
Agricultural Health Study
  • National Cancer Institute
  • Iowa and North Carolina
  • Long-term study, collecting wide range of information
  • Evaluate the incidence of many types of cancer and chronic diseases in relation to exposure to a variety of chemicals used on the farm in both women and men.
toxicity information
Toxicity Information
  • National Pesticide Telecommunication Network 800-858-7378
  • Extoxnet
  • Poison Control Centers

Ohio State University Extension, Pesticide Education Program