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Gaceta Sanitaria

Print version ISSN 0213-9111


BUTINOF, Mariana et al. Biomonitoring in exposure to pesticides, its contribution to epidemiological surveillance of pesticide applicators in Cordoba, Argentina. Gac Sanit [online]. 2019, vol.33, n.3, pp.216-221.  Epub Nov 25, 2019. ISSN 0213-9111.


To assess the level of exposure to pesticides and its correlation with perceived health indicators and injury biomarkers (genotoxic alterations and those caused by butyrylcholinesterase enzyme activity) in the population of pesticide applicators in extensive crops (PAEC) in Córdoba, Argentina.


Transversal study, in PAEC (n = 47) randomly selected from a sample of 2000, and non-exposed subject controls (n = 52). The sociodemographic variables, exposure conditioning, and perceived health were surveyed by means of a self-administered questionnaire; biological indicators of genotoxicity: micronuclei, chromosomal aberrations and kite assay, and butyrylcholinesterase activity.


40% of PAEC have over 10 years’ length of service and almost 50% of them reside less than 500 m from the sprinkled fields; they report low rates of personal protective equipment use while mixing, applying, or repairing the equipment. General, cardio-respiratory, and dermatological symptoms were greater among PAEC (p <0.05) as well as indicators of genotoxic injury (p <0.001). The butyrylcholinesterase activity was negatively associated with levels of exposure to pesticides.


The PAEC show an important negative impact on health linked to exposure to pesticides. The exposure scales associated to the use of biomarkers were a useful tool for monitoring pesticide applicators’ health.

Keywords : Biomonitoring; Pesticide exposure; Epidemiological surveillance; Pesticide applicators; Argentina.

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