Factors Affecting Initial Cholinesterase Levels from a Pilot Study of Central Wisconsin Farmers

Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health
  • Stueland, Dean T.;
  • Greenlee, Anne R.


Measurement of cholinesterase levels can serve as an indirect estimate of exposure to organophosphate or carbamate insecticides. In addition to individual variability, there are potential predictable confounding factors that may affect the result. In a convenience sample of producers that were being evaluated for general health concerns, we performed a pilot study to evaluate parameters that might affect the group cholinesterase levels. Cholinesterase levels were found to be related to the type of grower, even though all claimed not to be exposed at the time of the tests. The plasma and red cell cholinesterase levels did not vary in the same direction between commodity groups. Plasma cholinesterase levels were higher for males than females, but red cell cholinesterase levels were not affected by gender. The plasma cholinesterase levels correlated positively with several tests of liver function whereas the red cell cholinesterase results were negatively correlated with albumin but positively correlated with age. This study underscores the fact that several parameters systematically affect cholinesterase levels. These parameters do not affect both the red cell and plasma cholinesterase similarly. These factors need to be considered when cholinesterase levels are used to compare groups of potentially exposed persons.

Full article can be found in: Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health
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