Department of Public Health Sciences

Determinants of disability in illnesses related to agricultural use of organophosphates (OPs) in California

Weinbaum Z, Schenker MB, O'Malley MA, Gold EB, Samuels SJ

Am J Ind Med. 1995. 28(2):257-74.

rganophosphate (OP)-related illness data reported to the Worker Health and Safety Branch (WH&S) at the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA, now Cal-EPA) in the years 1984-1988 were examined. Eight hundred and seventy-eight cases with systemic illness and 199 cases of skin disease or eye injury were identified. Systemic cases were divided into two outcome groups: (1) "severe," disability and/or hospitalization days (n = 361), and (2) "mild," no disability or hospitalization days (n = 372). For the remainder (n = 145) or 16.5% of the cases, illness severity could not be determined. Using multiple logistic regression, independent predictors of "severe" illness were identified among the systemic cases. Workers coming in contact with OP residue on commodities or in the field ("exposed to residue" or ER) (OR = 4.6, 95% CI = 3.03-7.07) and mixer/loaders/applicators (MLA) (OR = 4.1, 95% CI = 2.72-6.07) were at significantly increased risk of severe illness when compared with cases exposed to OP application drift. Cases with a Spanish surname were also at increased risk of severe illness (OR = 1.8, 95% CI = 1.25-2.73). Increased numbers of OPs per exposure were also associated with severe illness (p

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