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Characteristics of pesticide-related hospitalizations, Louisiana, 1998-2007

Objective: Pesticides are widely used on agricultural crops and in homes, workplaces, and public spaces. Exposure to pesticides can cause acute and chronic health effects. We analyzed data from the Louisiana Hospital Inpatient Discharge Database from 1998 through 2007 to characterize hospitalizations involving pesticides.

Methods: Data for the study period consisted of 384 pesticide-related hospitalizations. We used demographic information and diagnosis codes for analysis.

Results: Males consistently had higher hospitalization rates than females (p=0.0073). Children aged 0-4 years had the highest pesticide-related hospitalization rate of all age groups (2.69 hospitalizations per 100,000); children aged 5-9 years had the lowest rate (0.36 hospitalizations per 100,000). Compared with adults, children had a higher rate of disinfectant exposure (15% vs. 5%; odds ratio [OR] = 3.41, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.61, 7.21; p=0.0008) and rodenticide exposure (14% vs. 2%; OR=8.55, 95% CI 3.07, 23.78; p<0.0001). Rural parishes (counties) were more likely than urban parishes to have higher pesticide hospitalization rates (OR=4.72, 95% CI 2.34, 9.54; p<0.0001). Intentional poisonings accounted for 27% of cases. Only eight cases were coded as work-related.

Conclusions: Analyzing pesticide-related hospitalization data provides important information about some of the most severe pesticide poisoning cases. Significant findings include the elevated rate of hospitalizations among young children and men, and the large proportion of self-inflicted poisonings. Health departments and health-care providers may use these findings to target outreach and prevention activities.

Badakhsh R, Lackovic M, Ratard R. Characteristics of pesticide-related hospitalizations, Louisiana, 1998-2007. Public Health Rep 2010; 125: 457-467.

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