oa Current Allergy & Clinical Immunology - Pesticides and the airways - a review of the literature : allergies in the workplace

Volume 24, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 1609-3607



A literature review was conducted focusing on the effects of pesticides in the development of respiratory diseases including asthma and rhinitis. The objective was to identify high-risk groups, and to identify specific pesticides associated with rhinitis and asthma, as well as the pathophysiological mechanisms involved. Methodological issues have been considered, particularly exposure assessment methods, which will drive recommendations for future research.

A number of studies have reported rhinitis and asthma associated with pesticides. Most studies have been conducted on male farm workers with few data on women and children. Few studies have been conducted in Africa. Furthermore, there is a lack of data on biomonitoring of specific pesticides and clinical endpoints aside from symptoms.
The mechanisms by which pesticides may cause respiratory effects include neurogenic inflammation and muscarinic effects of some pesticide groups such as organophosphates and carbamates. Pesticides may also modify inflammatory responses to other allergens.
Recommendations for future research include more African studies with additional focus on women and children, using more robust exposure markers such as specific pesticide biomonitoring and more objective markers for asthma outcomes.

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