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Objective: This study was conducted to describe the national magnitude and characteristics of acute pesticide poisoning among workers and customers in retail establishments.
Methods: Analyses included retail employees 15-64 years of age and customers with acute pesticide poisoning identified from the Sentinel Event Notification System for Occupational Risks-Pesticides (SENSOR- Pesticides) and California Department of Pesticide Regulation from 1998 to 2004. Pesticide poisoning incidence rates and incidence rate ratios (IRR) were calculated.
Results: A total of 325 cases of acute pesticide poisoning were identified. Of these cases, 287 (88%) were retail employees and 38 (12%) were customers. Overall, retail employees had a significantly lower acute pesticide poisoning incidence rate compared with non- agricultural, non-retail employees (IRR=0.53, 95% CI=0.47, 0.59). However, significantly elevated pesticide poisoning incidence rates were observed for four retail occupations (janitors, stock handlers/baggers, bakery/deli clerks, and shipping/receiving handlers). In addition, workers employed in two retail industry sectors (farm supply stores and hardware stores) had significantly elevated acute pesticide poisoning incidence rates. Incidence rates among the retail employees demonstrated a quadratic trend, monotonically decreasing from 1998 to 2000 and monotonically increasing from 2000 to 2003. The rates appear to have leveled off in 2003 and 2004.
Conclusions: Preventive measures to decrease acute pesticide poisoning incidence in the retail sector include adoption of unbreakable and tear- resistant container requirements, increased utilization of integrated pest management strategies, and advisement to store managers, employees, and customers about poisoning prevention.
Calvert GM, Petersen AM, Sievert J, Ball C, Mehler LN, Das R, Harter LC, Romoli C, Becker A, Ball C, Male D, Schwartz A, Lackovic M. Acute pesticide poisoning in the US retail industry, 1998-2004. Public Health Rep 2007; 122:232-244.