International Journal of Medicine and Public Health,2011,1,2,18-21.
Background: Recent era of agricultural boon is partially the result of extensive use of insecticides and pesticides. But these compounds also have potential to significantly alter the ecosystem and can cause acute poisonings as well as long term detrimental health effects in humans. These compounds can cause toxicity through all routes of exposure. They exert their effect mainly by the inhibition of Acetylcholinesterase (AC hE), which functions by removing acetylcholine (AC h) from its postsynaptic receptors. Aims and Objectives: Human exposure to Organophosphorous (OP) pesticides can develop lowered cholinesterase levels. The aim of the present study was to estimate the plasma levels of AC hE in personnel involved in handling of these compounds, during the period of active spraying operations. Methodology: The present study was conducted on 38 subjects working as Multipurpose Health Workers (MPHW GROUP-1) and Field Workers (FW GROUP-2) involved in the actual spraying of the insecticides, in District Rohtak, Haryana, India to see the effect of exposure to OP insecticides. Plasma cholinesterase activity was measured by a kinetic method based on hydrolysis of butrylthiocholine. The data was statistically analyzed using SPSS statistical package (SPSS version 5.0). Results and interpretation: The mean cholinesterase activity in group-2 was lower by 27.76% than that in group-1 and this difference was statistically significant (p < 0.05). The workers involved in actual spraying of the insecticides had a more marked reduction in the levels of Plasma AC hE, compared to the workers involved only in the handling of the insecticides indicating that this group is at a bigger risk.