Cytotoxic and Genotoxic Effects of Pesticide Exposure in Male Coffee Farmworkers of the Jarabacoa Region, Dominican Republic
Published: 03 August 2018 by MDPI in International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
MDPI, Volume 15; 10.3390/ijerph15081641
Abstract: Intensive agrochemical use in coffee production in the Global South has been documented. The aim of this study was to investigate cytotoxic and genotoxic effects of pesticide exposure in male farmworkers in the Dominican Republic comparing conventional farming using pesticides to organic farming. Furthermore, feasibility of the buccal micronucleus cytome assay (BMCA) for field studies under difficult local conditions was tested. In a cross-sectional field study, pesticide exposed (sprayers) and non-exposed male workers on coffee plantations were interviewed about exposure history, and pesticide application practices. Buccal cells were sampled, and BMCA was applied to assess potential effects on cell integrity. In total, 38 pesticide-exposed and 33 non-exposed workers participated. Eighty-four and 87%, respectively, of the pesticide-exposed respondents did not use masks or gloves at all. All biomarkers from the BMCA were significantly more frequent among exposed workers—odds ratio for micronucleated cells: 3.1 (95% confidence interval: 1.3–7.4) or karyolysis: 1.3 (1.1–1.5). Buccal cells as sensitive markers of toxic oral or respiratory exposures proved feasible for challenging field studies. Our findings indicate that the impact of pesticide use is not restricted to acute effects on health and wellbeing, but also points to long-term health risks. Therefore, occupational safety measures including training and protective clothing are needed, as well as encouragement towards minimal application of pesticides and more widespread use of organic farming.
Keywords: Occupational health, biomonitoring, Pesticide, Coffee Plantation, Genotoxic Risk, sprayer, cytotoxic risk