Evaluation of Trace Elements in the Nails and Hair of Farmers Exposed to Pesticides and Fertilizers

  •  Zariyantey Abdul Hamid    
  •  Ismarulyusda Ishak    
  •  Syarif Husin Lubis    
  •  Nihayah Mohammad    
  •  Hidayatulfathi Othman    
  •  Nur Zakiah Mohd Saat    
  •  Ahmad Rohi Ghazali    
  •  Siti Zakiah Abdul Rahim    
  •  Mohammad Roff Mohd Noor    


Exposure to pesticides and fertilizers lowers the level of trace elements in the human body for several reasons. This study aimed to investigate the effect of pesticide exposure to the levels of trace elements of farmers in Bachok and Tumpat, Kelantan, Malaysia. This cross sectional study involved 89 farmers. Demographic data and information on the duration of the exposure to the pesticides and fertilizers, as well as personal protective equipment (PPE) practice habits, were determined through questionnaire. The levels of selenium, manganese, zinc, copper and chromium samples of fingernails, toenails and hair were determined through the use of inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). The levels of the trace elements were not influenced by gender, age and the period of exposure. Only the manganese levels found in the hair samples (r = 0.250) show a significant positive correlation (p < 0.05) with the working period. PPE practice habit also have significant correlation (p < 0.05) with manganese level in fingernails (r = 0.530) and toenails (r = -0.353), zinc level in hair (r = -0.439) and chromium level in fingernails (r = -0.306). Exposure towards pesticide and fertilizer decreased the trace element level in nails and hair of farmers. Additionally, the level of trace elements can be influenced by health status, working period, dietary habit and PPE practices.

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