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Asia Pac J Public Health. 2013 Mar;25(2):181-91. doi: 10.1177/1010539511417422.

Pesticide exposure and endocrine dysfunction in the cotton crop agricultural workers of southern Punjab, Pakistan.

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  • 1National University of Science and Technology, Rawalpindi, Pakistan.


This study evaluated pesticide effects on reproductive and thyroid hormones of cotton farmers of southern Punjab, Pakistan. A total of 88 cotton farmers (42 spray applicators and 46 cotton pickers) were randomly included with an equal number of age- and sex-matched controls. Sampling was done in high spraying and peak picking seasons. Serum levels of luteinizing hormone (LH), follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), testosterone, prolactin, thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), total triiodothyroxine (TT3), and free thyroxine (fT4) were carried out by enzymatic immunoassay. Plasma cholinesterase (PChE) levels were measured by Ellman's method. Serum FSH, LH, and testosterone levels were significantly high in spray applicators (P < .01).Serum FSH and testosterone levels were significantly raised in cotton pickers (P < .01). Serum prolactin was decreased significantly in both groups (P < .01).Serum fT4 was significantly reduced in cotton pickers (P < .01). Pesticide exposure is associated with thyroid and reproductive hormone levels disturbance.

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