About 2.6 million women collect cotton from 9 major cotton growing district of Pakistan. Health hazards to women cotton pickers show that out of 2.6 million women, 2.2 million women get sick from their exposure to pesticides. Women are very actively involved in agricultural activities because agriculture is generally a family affair but women`s involvement in agriculture is wrapped in a mist of socio-cultural stereotype. Women cotton pickers complain of dizziness, muscular pain and suffocation due to acute pesticides poisoning because of inhalation of fumes. However as women access to the health care is minimum, there is no monitoring as to absorption of pesticides, pesticides level in blood and their effect on reproductive health. Several pesticides such as herbicides, insecticides and fungicides are known to be endocrine disrupters (EDCs). It was hypothesized that occupational exposure to pesticides after a spraying season causes changes in hormonal levels that might be detected in a short-term study. Analysis was performed to check the changes in reproductive hormones before and after a spraying season in the groups of women farmers exposed and not exposed to pesticides. The result of the study showed that both in pre season and post season significant differences for LH, FSH, progesterone and estradiol were found both in cotton pickers and non pickers present at the different stages of their reproductive cycle. while a comparison with in the cotton pickers present at same stages of their reproductive cycle in both pre and post season also showed a significant increase of hormonal level in post season. From this study it was concluded that pesticides might be affecting the hormonal levels of cotton pickers in Khairpur area. Since it was a short term study a long term study is required to confirm this effect.
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Sumaira Rizwan, Iftikhar Ahmad, Muhammad Ashraf, Shagufta Aziz, Tahira Yasmine and Adeela Sattar, 2005. Advance Effect of Pesticides on Reproduction Hormones of Women Cotton Pickers. Pakistan Journal of Biological Sciences, 8: 1588-1591.
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