Behavioral Changes from Chronic Exposure to Pesticides Used In Aerial Application: Effects of Phosdrin on the Performance of Monkeys and Pigeons on Variable Interval Reinforcement Schedules
FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION OKLAHOMA CITY OK CIVIL AEROMEDICAL INST
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The need for study of behavioral difficulties resulting from exposure to pesticides is based upon reports of behavioral difficulties in aerial applicators following organophosphate poisoning and is underscored by a recent plane crash of a cropduster pilot in which prior exposure to several organophosphate pesticides was implicated. The present study examines effects on performance of pigeons and squirrel monkeys of Phosdrin mevinphos, a cholinesterase-inhibiting pesticide not previously studied in the laboratory. Variable interval schedules of reinforcement were used with both food and water as rewards. A dose related decrease in response rate was observed with all animals. Decrements in behavior were observed at doses below which external symptoms of Phosdrin poisoning occurred, indicating the need for further investigation of the behavioral actions of pesticides.