Developing and evaluating rural environmental health indicators: a focus on agricultural pesticides and health outcomes in Manitoba
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The thesis objectives were to a) create environmental health indicators (EHIs) of the use and risk of crop farming pesticides; b) conduct an epidemiological study of the association between the pesticide EHIs and health outcomes, in rural crop farming areas of Manitoba. Pesticide indicators included the average annualized percent of Census Consolidated Subdivision land acreage where any pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, or insecticides were applied as well as an indicator of pesticide risk. In multilevel models, the use of insecticides was significantly associated with perinatal conditions (males: OR=1.08, p=0.005; females: OR=1.07, p=0.01), congenital anomalies in males (OR=1.04, p=0.04), and eye disorders (males: OR=1.03, p<0.001; females: OR=1.02, p=0.012). Eye disorders in males were also significantly associated with the use of any pesticide (OR=1.001, p<0.001) and pesticide risk (OR=1.06, p<0.001). Regular pesticide use in crop farming, especially insecticides, may be adversely affecting the health of the rural residents of Southern Manitoba.
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