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Exposure to high levels of pesticides on the job may raise the risk of heart disease and stroke, according to a new study Wednesday.
Researchers from the University of Hawaii at Manoa analyzed the medical of Japanese American men in Oahu who took part in the Kuakini Honolulu Heart Program study. The study, conducted between 1965 and 1968, enrolled more than 8,000 generally healthy men between the ages of 45 and 68. The men self-reported their occupations and underwent multiple examinations, with researchers also tracking cause of death and disease outcomes of the men through December 1999.
Using pesticide exposure estimates that assess the intensity and length of occupational exposure to pesticides for each job from the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the University of Hawaii researchers found that men who worked were exposed to pesticides had a 45% higher risk of heart disease or stroke than those not exposed to pesticides on the job, and that no significant relationship existed between low to moderate exposure to pesticides and the risk of heart disease and stroke.
The researchers also found that the maximum effect of exposure on heart disease and stroke risk occurred during the first 10 years of exposure, and noted that the link between pesticides and heart disease or stroke was no longer statistically significant after 30 years.
The study emphasizes the importance of using personal protective equipment during exposure to pesticides on the job, said co-author of the study Beatriz L. Rodriguez, a professor of geriatric medicine at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, in a news release.
The researchers cautioned, however, that the results may not apply to men of other races or to women, noting that all of the men in the study were first- or second-generation Japanese Americans, and that other studies have found differences between the way men and women respond to pesticide exposure.
The full study was published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
(Reuters) — Amazon.com Inc. will pay a roughly $1.2 million penalty to settle nearly 4,000 alleged violations of U.S. law in a move to prevent harmful exposure to pesticides through illegal sales, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said Thursday.