Salud Pública de México
Print version ISSN 0036-3634
PALACIOS-NAVA, Martha Edilia and MORENO-TETLACUILO, Luz María Angela. Health differences between male and female migrant agricultural workers in Sinaloa, Mexico. Salud pública Méx [online]. 2004, vol.46, n.4, pp. 286-293. ISSN 0036-3634. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0036-36342004000400003.
OBJECTIVE: To assess the differences in the prevalence of muscarinic and nicotinic type symptoms and the level of erythrocytic cholinesterase, prior to pesticide exposure, in male and female migrant agricultural workers. MATERIAL AND METHODS: A cross-sectional study was carried out in 2001 in Sinaloa State, Mexico, among 488 migrant workers. A questionnaire was applied and erythrocytic cholinesterase levels were measured before the beginning of the agricultural season. The differences by sex were compared using the "t" test for continuous variables and c2 test for categorical variables. Prevalence odds ratios were also estimated. Statistical significance was assessed using p-values <0.05 and 95% confidence intervals. RESULTS: Significant differences were found by age, migration type, place of origin, education, and migration time (p=0.000). Women were six times more likely to have anemia and asthma, twice more likely to have parasites and respiratory and gastrointestinal diseases and 38% more likely to suffer from heart disease. They were also at greater prevalence in thirteen of nineteen investigated symptoms. The average cholinesterase level was within normal limits (4.22 U/ml±0.77) and it was similar to the levels reported using the Magnotti method. CONCLUSIONS: The prevalence of symptoms, illnesses and cholinesterase levels found in this study may serve as baseline values for future comparisons of the health effects of pesticide exposure.
Keywords : pesticides; agricultural workers; health and gender; Mexico.