Pesticides Linked to Respiratory Wheeze in Farmers

According to a study out of North Carolina State University and published in Environmental Health Perspectives, several pesticides commonly used by farmers with both allergic and non-allergic wheeze, which can be a sensitive marker for early airway problems.

The study found that several pesticides that were commonly used by farmers either caused allergic or non-allergic wheeze or both. The researchers looked at 22,134 farmers and which pesticides they had used in the last year, tracking what symptoms occurred. The definitions they used were allergic wheeze being defined as wheezing along with doctor-diagnosed hay fever, with the non-allergic wheeze just comprising the wheezing. The control group contained farmers that had never used that particular chemical.

Of the 78 pesticides in the study, 29 were associated with one of the types of wheeze either allergic (19), non-allergic (21), or both (11).

“This is the most comprehensive list of pesticides in relation to wheeze that has been evaluated to date,” said one researcher. “Fifty-one of the pesticides we tested in this study has never been analyzed in terms of their effects on respiratory outcomes. And some of them, like glyphosate, 2,4-D and permethrin, aren’t just used on farms. They’re used residentially now to kill weeds or treat fleas on pets. We believe it’s important information that will help people make decisions about pesticides.”

So if you or someone you know has been wheezing ask if they have been exposed to any pesticides recently – it could help.


raziRazi Berry, Founder and Publisher of Naturopathic Doctor News & Review (ndnr.com) and NaturalPath (thenatpath.com), has spent the last decade as a natural medicine advocate and marketing whiz. She has galvanized and supported the naturopathic community, bringing a higher quality of healthcare to millions of North Americans through her publications. A self-proclaimed health-food junkie and mother of two; she loves all things nature, is obsessed with organic gardening, growing fruit trees (not easy in Phoenix), laughing until she snorts, and homeschooling. She is a little bit crunchy and yes, that is her real name.

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