Cholinesterase Research Outreach Project (CROP): measuring cholinesterase activity and pesticide use in an agricultural community

Australian farmers and their workers are exposed to a wide variety of pesticides. Organophosphate (OP) insecticides are a widely used class of pesticide used for animal husbandry practices (Naphthalophos for sheep dipping, jetting and drench), crop production for pest control (Dimethoate) and in public health (Maldison for head lice). Acute poisonings with this class of insecticide are reported among agricultural workers and children around the globe, due to the inhibition of acetylcholinesterase (AChE). Less is known about chronic exposures. Regular monitoring of erythrocyte AChE will enable farmers to identify potential exposure to organophosphate insecticides and take action to reduce exposures and improve their health and safety practices. This study aims to assess and improve the integration of AChE monitoring into routine point of care health clinics, and provide farming and non-farming people with a link between their AChE activity and their household chemical and agrichemical use.