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Pesticide exposure raises risk for stroke, heart attack

A study has connected exposure to high pesticide levels with an increased risk for heart attack and stroke. New Jersey residents should know that the study involved 7,557 Japanese-American men who participated in another study called the Kuakini Honolulu Heart Program. This program lasted from 1965 to 1999. Researchers combined this with data from OSHA to determine pesticide exposure levels.

They found that these men had a 45% higher risk for heart attack and stroke when exposed to pesticides. The first 10 years of pesticide exposure were deemed the riskiest with the effects of the pesticides wearing off after that. The link between pesticides, heart attack and stroke could not be discerned after 34 years, but aging and other factors may be masking the connection.

Researchers point out that these results may not apply equally to women as there are certain pesticides that give heart attacks to women but not to men and vice versa. The results may also be inapplicable when other races are considered. Researchers say that hormones make a difference in the way that pesticides impact health. However, it is clear that workers who are exposed to pesticides need to wear the right personal protective equipment. Employers who fail to provide this may be accused of negligence.

Workers who suffer heart attack or stroke as a result of unsafe work conditions may be eligible for benefits under workers' compensation law. Such medical episodes can be considered on-the-job injuries, but proving that they are may be difficult. Another thing is that even though victims don't need to prove that employers were negligent in order to receive benefits, employers still have the right to deny payment if victims were negligent. For these and other reasons, victims may want legal counsel.

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