The paraoxonase/arylesterase phenotype was measured in a Spanish population as previous studies have reported that the polymorphic variation in serum paraoxonase activity may affect the metabolism of organophosphates in individuals at risk of chronic intoxication. The prevalence of congenital deficiency in serum cholinesterase was also established in order to ascertain whether individuals with a congenital defect would be at a higher risk against a potential organophosphate exposure. We consider it useful to incorporate these two biomarkers into the health programme of agricultural workers with the purpose of monitoring workers who spray organophosphate pesticides, as they provide reliable indications of early-stage effects related to biochemical alterations that might precede overt clinical pictures. Copyright (C) 1999 Elsevier Science Ireland Ltd.
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