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Exposure to pesticides and chronic respiratory health effects: what is the link?
  1. Rachel Raanan
  1. The Israeli Ministry of Health, Jerusalem, Israel
  1. Correspondence to Dr Rachel Raanan, The Israeli Ministry of Health, Jerusalem, Israel; rachelraananrr{at}

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The aetiology of chronic respiratory disease is not fully clarified.1 Air pollution, tobacco smoke and other environmental toxicants have been reported to be adversely associated with respiratory symptoms and impaired lung function.1 In addition, there are implications of other toxicants such as exposure to pesticides.2 3

Pesticides are widely used globally. They provide important benefits in public health and food production and are an effective and economical method to enhance yield quality and quantity, thus ensuring food security worldwide.2 However, because pesticides are designed to impact biological systems, concerns have been raised regarding potential health impacts from widespread pesticide use.2 Indeed, exposure to some classes of pesticides has been associated with many adverse health outcomes, both of the general population and among occupationally exposed workers.2 Nevertheless, the benefits of pesticide use should be considered together with the potential health effects and its social and economic consequences resulting from exposure to pesticides for millions of exposed farmers and rural communities, especially in lower income countries.

Some classes of pesticides (for example, the most common cholinesterase (ChE)-inhibiting pesticides organophosphates and carbamates) have already been strongly associated with several health outcomes. However, there is limited evidence on the link between pesticide exposure and respiratory health effects, especially regarding lung function. An association …

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  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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