Department of Occupational and Environmental Health

This project was being led by Dr. Saloshni Naidoo, with Simphiwe Mnyaiza as project co-ordinator. The study was funded through a seed grant from the US National Institute of Health. The findings are to be used to plan a larger proposal for RO1 funding from the NIH.

Pesticides are used extensively in the developing world in order to improve crop production increase economic growth in the agriculture. In the presence of growing pressures for small and emerging farmers to become self-sustainable, the occupational health and safety related to pesticide use has been largely ignored. Studies have shown that chronic exposure to pesticides does lead to neurological problems in adults. The prenatal impact of pesticides is not well understood and is currently under- researched. The above study was a pilot project examining the prenatal neurological impact of pesticides on children. The study also designed and piloted neurobehavioural outcome battery field tests for neurotoxicological studies that can be used in rural communities in South Africa. The results of this study will provide a better understanding of the health outcomes within the study population in relation to pesticide exposure. The study population was drawn from small and emerging farms on the Makhatini irrigation scheme in Jozini, KwaZulu-Natal.

This study is a joint collaboration between the Centre for Occupational Health at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, the Occupational and Environmental Health Research Unit at the University of Cape Town and the Department of Environmental Health at Boston University in the United States

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