Occupational pesticide exposure is a global health concern in agricultural settings. During the last 20 years, Argentina has experienced a process of “agriculturalization” characterised by a strong and continuous increase in the land area dedicated to crop growing. Cordoba, located in the center of the country, is one of the most important cropping province; its cultivated area increased from 3.397.050 ha in 1994/95 to 6.810.500 ha in 2009/10. Moreover, an extensive agricultural model was set up based on the production with glyphosate-resistant transgenic soybean, no-till and intensive use of fertilisers and pesticides since 1996. In fact, a strong growth in the marketing of pesticides was observed: 155 million pounds in 1995 to 600 million pounds in 2007. Nevertheless, environmental impact and human health effects is poorly studied in this region. A population-based study of 880 agricultural applicators was carried out between 2007 and 2010. An exposure assessment was performed based on self-reported data. Workers completed a validated questionnaire describing several socio-demographic and lifestyle characteristics, pesticide and personal protective equipment use, lifetime exposure years and their health conditions. The main results indicate that our population is composed by young men (34.9 y, SD 11.04); 71% of them have mixed/applied pesticides up to 10 years and 46.5% live <500 m with respect to the next sprayed crop. Furthermore, 67% do not use adequate PPE and 65% apply on an average of 7000 ha/year. Our research shows a risk scenario that warrants further evaluation particularly for chronic health effects occurrence.
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