Pesticide-related health problems and diseases among farmers in the United Arab Emirates

M. M.M. Beshwari, Abdulbari Bener, A. Ameen, A. M. Al-Mehdi, H. Z. Ouda, M. A.H. Pasha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of this study is to determine the effect of pesticides on farm workers and to identify some risk factors associated with pesticide conditions may cause adverse health effects in farm workers in the United Arab Emirates. This case-control study consisted of 103 farm workers (case) and 105 non-farm workers (control), matched for age, sex and nationality selected from Al-Ain city, Dubai, Sharjah and Fujairah Emirates. Indian-subcontinent workers represented the majority among farmers (90.3%) and non-farmers (82.9%). While the majority of farmers were illiterate and had low level of education, the non-farmers slightly shifted towards a higher level of education (p < 0.0001). Most of the farmers were living in prefabricated houses (50.5%) and were washing the harvested product (72.8%) before eating. Farmers had higher prevalence of symptoms than non-farmers, being significantly greater for diarrhoea (p < 0.016), nausea/vomiting (p < 0.003), rash (p < 0.002), red/irritated eye/blurred vision (p < 0.024), increased anxiety (p < 0.003), dizziness (p < 0.0001), headache (p < 0.024), muscular symptoms (p < 0.015), memory loss (p < 0.0001), drowsiness (p < 0.003), fatigue (p < 0.001), dyspnoea (p < 0.005), and insomnia (p < 0.001). Also, farm workers had higher prevalence respiratory symptoms than non-farm workers being significantly greater for cough, phlegm, breathlessness, sinusitis, throat discomfort, chronic bronchitis, asthma diagnosis by doctor, allergic rhinitis, skin pruritus (tinea, contact dermatitis) and eczema. In conclusion, this study determined possible exposure and associated risk factors with pesticides among farmers and there is evidence that some of the illnesses obtained in this study could be related to excessive exposure to pesticides.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)213-221
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Health Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1999


  • Exposure
  • Farmers
  • Pesticides
  • Respiratory symptoms
  • UAE

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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