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General Health

The active chemicals found in pesticides have been studied extensively to examine their impact on human health. Ties between pesticide exposure among applicators as well as the general public incidences of health issues have been correlated. The impacts of pesticide exposure on human health can lead to a broad array of health outcomes including cancer, arthritis, birth defects, neurological disorders, developmental effects, and more. The following scholarly, peer-reviewed articles provide insight on key research findings in this field.


Article 1
Lee, Duk-Hee, Michael Steffes, and David R. Jacobs Jr. "Positive Associations of Serum Concentrations of Polychlorinated Biphenyls or Organochlorine Pesticides with Self-Reported Arthritis, Especially Rheumatoid Type, in Women." Environmental Health Perspectives 115.6 (2007): 883-88.

Summary of Article 1
This study examines the relationship between exposures to several types of pesticides, termed persistent organic pollutants and an increase in arthritis in women. The researchers positively associated exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls, commonly known as PCBs, with an increase in arthritis in women, especially rheumatoid arthritis. Their exposure to these chemicals was second hand, which suggests that they were not handling or using these chemicals but came into contact with them by being in close proximity or through the air. Rheumatoid arthritis is caused by the from the immune system's inability to provide a normal response to fight off this disease. The researchers in this study imply that further research should be done on these types of pesticides as they may be the cause of other autoimmune diseases.


Article 2
Garry, Vincent F., Dina Schreinemachers, Mary E. Harkins, and Jack Griffith. "Pesticide Appliers, Biocides, and Birth Defects in Rural Minnesota." Environmental Health Perspectives 104.4 (1996): 394-99.

Summary of Article 2
This study investigates a correlation between birth defects and the use of pesticides in the agriculturally rich state of Minnesota. Researchers divided the state into four sections based on crop production and found that a significant relationship exists between areas with high pesticide use and increased rates of birth defects. While birth defects were highest among babies whose parents were pesticide applicators, the general population of areas with high pesticide use also experienced increased rates of birth defects. This suggests that indirect exposure, exposure from contaminated air, water, or other sources, can have implications on the health of babies. A wide array of birth defects were recorded, ranging from central nervous system defects, to reproductive organ defects, to muscoskeletal defects.


Article 3
Kettles, Michelle A., Steven R. Browning, Timothy Scott Prince, and Sanford W. Horstman. "Triazine Herbicide Exposure and Breast Cancer Incidence: An Ecologic Study of Kentucky Counties." Environmental Health Perspectives 105.11 (1997): 1222-227.

Summary of Article 3
This study examines the links between heavy use of the herbicide Triazine and the incidence of breast cancer among women in Kentucky. The researchers recorded the levels of Triazine found in groundwater and surface water, the number of acres under corn production, and the levels of Triazine used in every county in the state, and they cross referenced this information with recorded rates of breast cancer for each county. The researchers found that counties with high levels of Triazine in both the ground water and surface water, which comes from run off from crop lands, experienced a modest association with increased rates of breast cancer.

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