Proceedings of the VII International Congress of Rural Medicine, September 17-21, Salt Lake City, Utah. International Association of Agricultural Medicine, 1978 Sep; :299-301
The problem of pesticide exposure in Egypt was discussed. Agricultural production in Egypt was summarized. Approximately 60 percent of the Egyptian population depends directly or indirectly on production of agricultural products. A national plan has been developed to make Egypt self sufficient in food production and to improve the nutritional status of the population. Because the arable land is confined to the Nile Valley, heavy use is made of pesticides. For example in 1976, 10 percent of the agricultural land was sprayed with pesticides. Problems resulting from pesticide use were discussed. Sporadic deaths stemming from acute exposure to pesticides, especially parathion (56382) and toxaphene (8001352) have been reported since 1962. Thirty percent of these deaths have resulted from careless application. The other deaths resulted from contamination of food. Poisoning incidents involving leptophos (21609905) in 1971 and tamaron (10265926) and gusathion (86500) in 1976 were mentioned. It was noted that morbidity from acute pesticide exposures has been underestimated because patients that are not hospitalized may not be included in the tally of cases. In addition, the death toll due to the pesticides may be inaccurate because some persons may recover from their symptoms and die later of seemingly unrelated causes but that were initiated by the exposure. The problem of chronic exposure to pesticides was discussed. Chronic exposure may result in hepatic damage in humans and the destruction of many useful species of wildlife such as birds, fishes, and bees. The Ministries of Agriculture, Health, and Manpower have undertaken a coordinated program to set acceptable levels of pesticide exposure, to monitor occupational exposures, investigate and evaluate control methods, and to provide information on pesticide hazards to agricultural workers.
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