Background: The improper use of pesticide is associated with respiratory morbidity in many developing countries. Aim: The purpose of this study was to determine the prevalence of respiratory symptoms and its association with the use of agricultural pesticide among crop farmers in three rural communities in Ekiti State, South Western Nigeria. Subjects and Methods: This was a cross‑sectional study conducted in Ijero local government in Ekiti State, Nigeria from June 2009 to August 2009. Pre‑tested structured questionnaire was administered by trained interviewers to obtain clinical information and exposure to pesticide and this was followed by peak expiratory flow rate (PEFR) measurement using wright peak flow meter. The data were analyzed using SPSS version 15 (SPSS Corp., Chicago, IL, USA). Results: A total of 228 farmers participated in the study and 8.3% (19/228)of the farmers reported a lifetime exposure to pesticides. Recurrent breathlessness (odds ratio [OR] = 4.28; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.65‑10.86), chronic cough (OR = 2.96; 95% CI: 1.21‑7.23), chronic sputum (OR = 2.64; 95% CI: 1.12‑6.24) and nasal symptoms (OR = 2.96; 95% CI: 1.21‑7.25) were independently associated with pesticide exposure. Mean PEFR was lower in farmers using pesticide (323  L/min) when compared with those not using pesticide (467  L/min) P < 0.01. All the 228 (100.0%) respondents in this study were aware of the adverse effect of pesticide and only 2 (10.5%) of those exposed used a respiratory protective device. Previous pesticide education was not significantly associated with lower occurrence of respiratory symptoms. Conclusion: The use of pesticide among crop farmers is associated with increased respiratory symptoms and airflow limitations. Our results support the need for continuing pesticide education and promotion of safe practices among the farmers as the majority of them do not use protective devices.
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