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Revista Española de Salud Pública

On-line version ISSN 2173-9110Print version ISSN 1135-5727


GRILLO PIZARRO, Ángela; ACHU PERALTA, Eduardo; MUNOZ-QUEZADA, María Teresa  and  LUCERO MONDACA, Boris. Exposure to organophosphate pesticides and peripheral polyneuropathy in workers from Maule Region, Chile. Rev. Esp. Salud Publica [online]. 2018, vol.92, e201803006.  Epub Mar 22, 2018. ISSN 2173-9110.


Organophosphate pesticides (OP) are used massively for their low cost, low environmental persistence and high effectiveness in insect pest control, however, agricultural workers, when exposed to OP, have negative consequences on their health mainly neurological. For the first time, a research is reported in a Latin American population that studied the association between labor exposure to OP and the presence of peripheral polyneuropathy in agricultural workers. The aim of the study was to estimate the relationship between occupational exposure to organophosphate pesticides (OP) and presence of peripheral polyneuropathy in workers in the Maule Region, Chile.


We conducted a cross-sectional study with 55 agricultural workers exposed to OP and 58 non-agricultural workers not exposed. It was applied a test for the detection of peripheral polyneuropathy through pallesthetic threshold assessment by on-off method. To estimate the relationship between exposure to OP pesticides and peripheral polyneuropathy, we used a multiple logistic regression model (95% confidence interval).


26% of the total sample had polyneuropathy, with 38% positive cases for the exposed group and 14% for the non-exposed group. The risk of developing peripheral polyneuropathy was 3.6 times higher in workers exposed to OP than in non-exposed workers.


There is a positive association between the presence of peripheral polyneuropathy and chronic occupational exposure to OP, adjusting for age and sex.

Keywords : Organophosphate; Pesticides; Peripheral Nervous System Diseases; Occupational exposure; Workers.

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