The aim of this study was to investigate the health effects induced by exposure to the fungicide mancozeb in Italian vineyard workers. Ninety-three Italian subjects entered the study - 48 vine-growers intermittently exposed to mancozeb and 45 healthy controls. The subjects were investigated three times: before the seasonal application of pesticides (T0), 30 days after the beginning of the application period (T30), and 45 days after T0 (T45). At T0 the comparison between agricultural workers and controls showed a higher prevalence of cold or flu symptoms, a statistically significant lower percentage of monocytes, higher absolute count of T lymphocytes, CD4 and natural killer cells, and lower plasma levels of IgA and IgM in workers. Such differences were not confirmed at T30 and T45. In fact at T30 in exposed workers, besides a significant increase of urinary ethylenethiourea, confirming mancozeb exposure, T lymphocytes, CD4 and natural killer cells, IgA and IgM returned to values comparable to those observed in controls. Moreover, no other differences in clinical signs, haematological, and immune parameters, such as the immune functional capability evaluated as a response to hepatitis B vaccination, was observed. Altogether the differences between exposed and controls were not consistently correlated to any clinical impairment and suggest that the seasonal application of mancozeb does not pose a significant health risk to exposed subjects.
- Ethylenebisdithiocarbamate fungicides (EBDCs)
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