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01 November 2004

Review of clinical and toxicological features of acute pesticide poisonings in Crete (Greece) during the period 1991–2001

George K. Bertsias, Pavlos Katonis, George Tzanakakis, Aristidis M. Tsatsakis

Med Sci Monit 2004; 10(11): CR622-627 :: ID: 11802


Background:In Crete, the largest island of Greece, many pesticide formulations are increasingly used in agriculture in order to raise crop production. This study reviews a number of pesticide poisoning cases registered at the Center of Toxicology and Forensic Sciences Research at the University of Crete between 1991 and 2001.Material/Methods:The medical records and toxicological data of the pesticide poisonings are presented. The analyzed samples were mainly blood and/or urine, but also gastric fluids and other tissues. Analysis involved a variety of techniques.Results:Eleven poisonings caused by paraquat (7 men, 4 women, aged 15–58 years) are reported, five of which had fatal outcome. Initial paraquat plasma levels ranged between 0.4–165 μg/ml. Thirteen intoxications due to various organophosphorous agents are presented (11 men, 2 women, aged 13–69 years). Pesticide blood levels upon admission ranged from 1.0–108 μg/ml and there were six fatalities. Carbamate poisonings (4 men, 2 women, aged 32–60 years) were caused by methomyl (initial blood levels 1.6–57 mg/l) and resulted in death. A case of methyl bromide intoxication is also presented.Conclusions:The results of the study highlight the toxic and potentially lethal effects of pesticide formulations used in agriculture. Special seminars should be run to educate farmers on the proper use of these agents and the supply of pesticides should be restricted to those who follow all safety measures. Physicians should be trained to promptly identify and treat pesticide intoxications.

Keywords: Pesticides - blood, Pesticides - urine, Poisoning - diagnosis, Adolescent, Greece, Pesticides - urine, Poisoning - diagnosis

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Medical Science Monitor eISSN: 1643-3750
Medical Science Monitor eISSN: 1643-3750