Many farmers, ranchers and animal handlers are exposed to organophosphate and carbamate pesticides regularly. Short-term high-level or long-term low-level pesticide exposure can cause many health problems. A recent British study performed mental and neurological function tests on 137 sheep farmers exposed to organophosphate pesticides and 78 unexposed controls.
The pesticide exposed sheep farmers had significantly poorer tests of memory, motor control, response time and strategy making as compared to the unexposed controls. Mental depression and anxiety levels were also significantly higher in the pesticide exposed sheep farmers than in the controls. This research by Mackenzie-Ross is now in press in the journal Neurotoxicology and Teratoxicology.
Indoor pesticide spraying should be avoided if possible. Most pesticides can be easily absorbed through the skin and lungs. Some analyses have reported that the average US child or adult receives a much greater dose of pesticide through residential or workplace exposure than through exposure to pesticides in water or food.
Many earlier published studies have reported that low-level long-term pesticide exposure in the home or workplace can also cause adverse health effects such as asthma, depression, higher risk of suicide, and problems with balance, concentration and memory.