Pesticides and respiratory health

Photo credit: NIAID Photo credit: NIAID

A recent commentary published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine calls for research to increase our understanding of risks to human respiratory health posed by specific chemical pesticides. A growing number of studies suggest that pesticide exposure is closely linked to respiratory diseases such as asthma. The author reviews one recent study where pesticides were found to be associated with poor lung function even in spite of technicalities in the research methods that should have reduced the observed association between exposure and lung health. Accordingly, the author suggests that the effect of pesticides on respiratory health may actually be even more severe than reported in the study. She concludes the commentary with a call for more research. “Given the ubiquity of pesticide use worldwide, with over 5 billion pounds of pesticides used in 2006, what is now needed is better information on the specific chemicals exposure-response relationships and mechanisms of action which contribute to these outcomes.”