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Pesticide exposure linked to greater heart attack, stroke risk

Minnesota residents know that pesticide exposure is unhealthy, but what they may not have known is that it raises the risk of heart attack and stroke in particular. This was the conclusion of a study conducted by the University of Hawaii. It involved 7,557 Japanese-American men on the island of Oahu who had been observed for over 40 years as part of the Kuakini Honolulu Heart Program.

Consulting OSHA data to estimate the men's pesticide exposure levels at work, researchers found that high exposure levels made men 45% more likely to suffer heart attack or stroke. The risk was found to be especially high in the first decade of exposure with the effects tapering off after that. Researchers admit that these results may not hold for women since pesticides affect men and women differently.

Researchers also found that the relationship between pesticide exposure and the risk for heart attack and stroke became statistically insignificant after 34 years. The most likely explanation is that aging becomes a more significant factor in the risk for those and other medical conditions. Aging may mask any relationship that still exists between exposure and heightened risk.

The results are clear, though. Workers should be provided with the right personal protective equipment. Employers should foresee what hazards their employees face and act accordingly.

Whether or not there is a clear breach of workplace safety standards, those who are injured on the job have the ability to file for workers' compensation law. This is assuming that the employer has workers' comp insurance. Unlike with a personal injury case, victims need not prove that anyone was negligent to be eligible for workers' comp. They may want a lawyer by their side, though, in anticipation of a denial of their claim.

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