Study: agricultural workers need monitoring for cardiovascular disease


  • Mary Corcoran
  • Univadis Medical News
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New research suggests that occupational exposure to pesticides may play a role in the development of cardiovascular diseases (CVD), with the study’s authors suggesting farm and agriculture workers should be monitored for CVD outcomes. 

The findings are the latest to emerge from the Kuakini Honolulu Heart Program, which enrolled over 8,000 Japanese American men in Hawaii between 1965 and 1968. Men enrolled in the study were 45 to 68 years of age and self-reported their occupation. Data on rates of heart disease and stroke were available through December 1999. 

The study found that compared to men who were not exposed to pesticides at work, in the first 10 years of follow-up, those with high pesticide exposure had an around 46 per cent higher risk of CVD. There was no significant relationship between low-to-moderate exposure to pesticides and the risk of heart disease or stroke.

Presenting the findings in the Journal of the American Heart Association, the authors said healthcare providers need to be aware of occupational health risks of pesticide exposure, especially in agricultural populations. They said long- and short-term chemical exposures, especially to pesticides, also need to be documented in individual medical records.