Neuropsychological Functioning and Health-related Symptoms in a Commercial Pesticide Applicator during High- and Low-level Exposure Seasons

Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health
  • Cessna, Allan J.;
  • Crossley, Margaret F. O.;
  • Dosman, James A.;
  • Hagel, Louise M.;
  • Irvine, Donald G.;
  • Ledingham, Donna L.;
  • McDuffie, Helen H.;
  • Semchuk, Karen M.;
  • Senthilselvan, Ambi K.


This case study of a farmer/commercial applicator (FP) explores the relationship between occupational pesticide exposure and neuropsychological brain functions (i.e., sensation and motor skills, memory, attention, emotion, etc.), taking into consideration the stress and fatigue common to the spraying season. FP completed health questionnaires and neuropsychological tests during a low pesticide exposure season (i.e., winter baseline testing), four months later during a high exposure season (i.e., summer re-test), and 20 months after winter baseline testing, during a second low exposure season (i.e., fall follow-up testing). At baseline, FP displayed normal sensation, above-average motor speed, strength and attentional skills, and average memory, language, and problem-solving skills. He reported few emotional and health symptoms and self-rated his thinking ability as average. During summer re-test, FP performed below the expected range on tests of sensation, memory, and verbal fluency, and reported high levels of emotional and health symptoms. At follow-up, FP's performance on all measures had returned to baseline. This case study suggests that for some individuals, specified brain functions may be temporarily depressed during occupational exposures to pesticides and high levels of work-related stress and fatigue.

Full article can be found in: Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health
Access this publication at: ASABE Technical Library

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