Original article

Scand J Work Environ Health 1995;21(4):283-288    pdf

doi:10.5271/sjweh.39

Frequency of sister chromatid exchange and hematological effects in pesticide-exposed greenhouse sprayers

by Lander F, Rønne M

Objectives A cross-sectional study was conducted to investigate whether exposure to pesticides in greenhouses causes hemato- or genotoxic damage in sprayers.

Methods The frequency of sister chromatid exchange (SCE) in cultured lymphocytes and the number of blood erythrocytes, leucocytes, and thrombocytes were studied among 134 greenhouse sprayers exposed to a complex mixture of almost 50 insecticides, fungicides, and growth regulators and among 157 referents.

Results The hematological profiles did not differ between the exposed and unexposed groups. The SCE frequency was elevated in nonsmoking, but not in currently smoking sprayers when compared with the referents. There was a slight tendency towards an increased SCE frequency with decreasing degree of protection during pesticide applications. The frequency of pesticide applications, lifetime pesticide exposure, and in-season plasma-cholinesterase inhibition (as an estimate of current exposure to organophosphates and carbamates) did not influence the SCE frequency or any of the hematological parameters.

Conclusion The present results suggest a genotoxic effect from combined subtoxic occupational pesticide exposure, whereas no hematogenic effects could be observed at the current exposure level.

Key terms hematology; pesticide