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High pesticide exposure levels raise risk of heart attack, stroke

The results of a new study should alert employers in Pennsylvania to the need for providing the right personal protective equipment to workers. A study from the University of Hawaii has found that men who are exposed to high levels of pesticides run a higher risk of suffering stroke or heart attack.

Researchers looked at 7,557 Japanese-American men who had participated in the Kuakini Honolulu Heart Program, a separate study that had taken place from 1965 to 1999. To determine the level of pesticides that the men were exposed to at work, researchers utilized data from OSHA. It turns out that excessive pesticide exposure led to a 45% increase in the chance for heart attack or stroke.

This risk was at its highest in the first 10 years of exposure, tapering off after that. After 34 years, there was no statistically significant link between pesticide exposure and the risk for these conditions. This may be because aging becomes a more dominant factor in whether one suffers a heart attack or stroke.

Researchers admit that the study's results may not apply equally to women or to other races. Certain pesticides affect men and women differently, and hormones may influence the chances of developing cardiovascular disease. However, a 2015 study involving middle-aged Taiwanese workers produced similar results.

If employees are injured at work through exposure to pesticides or other harmful chemicals, then they can be eligible for benefits under workers' compensation law. It may benefit them to hire a workers' compensation attorney since the filing process can be fraught with difficulties. The employer may even deny the claim, saying that the victim is at fault. With an attorney, victims may mount an appeal, and if they are already receiving benefits, they might opt for a lump-sum settlement.

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