NIOSH Pesticide Poisoning Monitoring Program Protects Farmworkers
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication Number 2012-108
A Story of Impact:
Among the estimated two million agricultural workers in the United States, physicians diagnose 10,000 to 20,000 pesticide poisonings each year.1 The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) established the Sentinel Event Notification System for Occupational Risks – Pesticides Program (SENSOR-Pesticides) in 1987 to reduce the number of injuries and illnesses associated with occupational pesticide exposure.
The Program is a U.S. state-based surveillance effort that monitors pesticide-related illness and injury in 11 states.2 Under this Program, NIOSH provides technical support and funding to state health departments to build and maintain surveillance capacity and to bolster pesticide-related illness and injury surveillance. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also provides funding support for the Program.
The SENSOR-supported surveillance systems tabulate the number of acute occupational pesticide poisonings, allowing for the timely identification of outbreaks. The Program also helps develop preventive interventions and maintains a national database that compiles information from participating states. Researchers and government officials from the SENSOR-Pesticides Program have published research articles highlighting findings from the data and build state and national capacity by facilitating communication across participating states. Publications have discussed issues as diverse as pesticide poisoning among agricultural workers, pesticide poisoning in schools, birth defects, and residential use of total release foggers (aka: bug bombs), which are devices that release an insecticide mist.3
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DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2012-108
2 Calvert GM, Plate DK, Das R, Rosales R, Shafey O, Thomsen C, Male D, Beckman J, Arvizu E, Lackovic M . Acute occupational pesticide-related illness in the US, 1998-1999: surveillance findings from the SENSOR-pesticides program. Am J Ind Med 45(1):14-23.
4 Calvert GM, Alarcon WA, Chelminski A, Crowley MS, Barrett R, Correa A, Higgins S, Leon HL, Correia J, Becker A, Allen RH, Evans E . Case report: Three farmworkers who gave birth to infants with birth defects closely grouped in time and place ─ Florida and North Carolina, 2004-2005. Environ Health Perspect 115(5):787-791.
6 Grube A, Donaldson D, Kiely T, Wu L . Pesticides industry sales and usage. 2006 and 2007 market estimates. Washington, DC: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, EPA Report No. EPA-733-R-11-001.
7 7. National Pesticide Information Retrieval System . Federal pesticide product [http://ppis.ceris.purdue.edu/htm/product.htmexternal icon]. Date accessed: October 2011.