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Studies of the occupational exposure of field workers to insecticides.

Mull RL; Kurtz PH; Richards DM; Winterlin WL; Kilgore WW; Kraus JF; Borhani NO; Akesson NB
Proceedings of the VII International Congress of Rural Medicine, September 17-21, Salt Lake City, Utah. International Association of Agricultural Medicine, 1978 Sep; :312-315
Procedures for conducting studies on the effects of occupational exposure to insecticides on field workers were discussed. The procedures were developed from the experience obtained while conducting a reentry study of the effects of exposure to anticholinesterase insecticides on workers thinning peaches in northern California and a study of workers harvesting grapes in the southern San Joaquin Valley. The primary means of detecting exposure was to monitor erythrocyte and plasma cholinesterase activity and urinary excretion of insecticide metabolites. Requirements for conducting a successful occupational monitoring study under field conditions were discussed. These include using workers who actually work in the field, not surrogates; utilizing a mobile clinic for conducting interviews and physical examinations and for collecting blood and urine samples; having a well equipped analytical chemistry laboratory with a staff trained in detecting low concentrations of pesticide residues; and an engineering team familiar with the types of application equipment being used. The authors also noted the importance of using an interdisciplinary team of scientists, ones that know both medical and agricultural science. Potential problems associated with field studies of occupational exposure to pesticides were described. These originate from having an inadequate number of participants to obtain statistically reliable data; not exercising rigid quality control in sample and medical data collection; and not having at least one medical team member who can talk with the subjects in their native language.
NIOSH-Grant; Grants-other; Epidemiology; Occupational-exposure; Agricultural-chemicals; Agricultural-workers; Occupational-health; Biological-monitoring; Enzyme-activity; Urinalysis
Prev Med & Environmental Hlth University of Iowa Inst/agric Med & Environ Hlth Iowa Oakdale, Iowa 52319
Publication Date
Document Type
Conference/Symposia Proceedings
Funding Amount
Funding Type
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
Priority Area
Other Occupational Concerns; Grants-other
Source Name
Proceedings of the VII International Congress of Rural Medicine, September 17-21, Salt Lake City, Utah
Performing Organization
University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division