Hesperian Health Guides
Pesticides Cause Many Health Problems
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A person exposed to pesticides may have more than one sign of illness. Some signs show up at the time the person is exposed. Other signs do not show up until hours, days, or even years later. (For more on health effects of toxic chemicals, see Chapter 16.)
Many people are exposed to pesticides but may not know it. Laundry workers, garbage and recycling workers, and others who have direct contact with pesticides may be in just as much danger of poisoning as farm workers. They should be aware that there are pesticides in their environment, and they should follow the same precautions as farm workers.
Signs of pesticide poisoning
pain, breathing problems, coughing
pain, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting
Confusion, weakness, trouble walking, trouble concentrating, muscle twitching, restlessness and anxiety, bad dreams and trouble sleeping
headaches, vision problems, small pupils in the eyes, tears
muscle cramps or pains, twitching
damage to fingernails, numbness and tingling in fingers
itching, rashes, bumps, redness, blisters, burning, sweating too much
If you have any of these problems while working with pesticides, leave the worksite immediately. Do not wait until you feel worse. Get away from the pesticides and go to a hospital or clinic right away!
Signs of severe poisoning:
Unconsciousness, loss of control over bladder and bowels, blue lips and fingernails, shaking