A pesticide exposure algorithm was developed to calculate pesticide exposure intensity scows based on responses to questions about pesticide handling procedures and application methods in a self-administered questionnaire. The validity of the algorithm was evaluated through comparison of the algorithm scores with biological monitoring data from a study of 126 pesticide applicators who applied the herbicdes MCPA or 2,4-D. The variability in the algorithm scores calculated for these applicators was due primarily to differences in their use of personal protective equipment (PPE). Rubber gloves were worn by 75% of applicators when mixing and 22% when applying pesticides, rubber boots were worn by 33% when mixing and 23% when applying, and goggles were wont by 33% and 17% of applicators when mixing and when applying, respectively. Only 2% of applicators wore all three types of PPE when both mixing and applying, and 15% wore none of these three types of PPE when either mixing or applying. Substantial variability was also observed in the concentrations of pesticides detected in the post application urine samples. The concentration of MCPA detected in urine samples collected on the second day after the application ranged from less than < 1.0 to 610 μg/L among 84 of the applicators who applied MCPA. The concentrations of 2,4-D detected in the urine samples ranged from less than < 1.0 to 514 μg/L among 41 of the applicators who applied 2,4-D. When categorized into three groups based on the algorithm scores, the geometric mean in the highest exposure group was 20 μg/L compared with 5 μg/L in the lowest exposure group for the MCPA applicators, and 29 μg/L in highest exposure group compared with 2 +g/L in the low exposure group for the 2.4-D applicators. A regression analysis detected statistically significant trends in the geometric mean of the urine concentrations across the exposure categories for both the 2.4-D and the MCPA applicators. The algorithm scores, based primarily on the use of PPE, appear to provide a reasonably valid measure of exposure intensity for these applicators, however, further studies are needed to generalize these results to other types of pesticides and application methods.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health