Article Text

  1. M. B. Hill1
  1. 1University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA.


Purpose Every year over 1 million people sought medical attention because of exposure to organophosphates, one of the main chemicals in pesticides. Of those, roughly 100,000 occurred in the United States and 50,000 were children under the age of 6. Pesticide poisoning is the cause of 20,000 deaths a year. Death generally comes because of anoxia injury due to respiratory failure. Othello, WA, is farm country, where there is extensive use of pesticides and farm workers. The Columbia Basin Health Association (the main health clinic in Othello) has an outreach program that contacts local growers to educate them about the importance of testing cholinesterase baselines and then a program to regularly monitor cholinesterase levels. Also, the Maternity Support Services has a program in the local work camps and talks to workers about the signs of pesticide overexposure. However, neither of these programs had any type of educational brochure.

Methods I prepared a handout to be used for both employers and employees. This handout addressed such issues as how to recognize pesticide exposure, what to do if exposed, when someone can return to a field after pesticide application, how to reduce exposure to self and others with whom you live, and the basis of cholinesterase testing, including who, when, and why.

Summary of Results The final product was given to both of the aforementioned programs to be used in their future relations with growers and their employees.

Conclusion Having written materials that workers can take home with them is an important part in education and allows the ability to look over the material later.

Statistics from

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.