NIOSHTIC-2 Publications Search

Pesticide exposure during greenhouse applications, Part II. Chemical permeation through protective clothing in contact with treated foliage.

Methner MM; Fenske RA
Appl Occup Environ Hyg 1994 Aug; 9(8):567-574
The ability of chemical protective clothing (CPC) to protect against skin exposure during pesticide application by handguns in greenhouses was investigated. Three or four workers applied a fluorescent tracer to simulate pesticide spraying by handgun among closely packed plants for 1 hour in a greenhouse in Florida while wearing four types of CPC: Tyvek, Saranex-23-8-Tyvek (Saranex), Comfortguard-II, and Kleenguard. Saranex and Kleenguard had been treated to increase their barrier properties. Filter patches were placed on the outside of the garments and on the subjects' thighs below the garments. The subjects were videotaped. The extent of dermal exposure was assessed by quantifying tracer deposits on the garments using the videotapes and from the amounts of tracer deposited on the patches. All CPC garments showed breakthrough of the tracer. The average extent of breakthrough as determined by videotape analysis was: unwashed Kleenguard, 6%; washed Kleenguard, 39%; Tyvek, 16%; and Saranex and Comfortguard, less than 1%. Analysis of the patch deposition data indicated that the garments were exposed to tracer at deposition rates of 50 to 6,200 nanograms per square centimeter per hour. The average extent of permeation of the garments was: washed and unwashed Kleenguard, 100%; Tyvek, 67%; and Saranex and Comfortguard, each 50%. A similar experiment was conducted in a greenhouse in New Jersey in which the pesticide tracer was applied by two workers wearing Tyvek and Kleenguard CPC. In this case, breakthrough times were recorded. Breakthrough of both garments occurred 5 to 15 minutes after the start of spraying. The Kleenguard showed approximately three times more breakthrough than the Tyvek garment. Most of the deposited tracer was on the upper legs and lesser amounts were found on the lower legs. Analysis of work practices and the garment exteriors indicated that the upper legs repeatedly contacted the plant foliage. The lower legs were exposed to foliar runoff. The authors conclude that none of the investigated CPC garments protects against pesticide penetration under the experimental conditions. Contact with treated foliage is a significant route of exposure.
NIOSH-Grant; Grants-other; Work-practices; Agricultural-chemicals; Occupational-exposure; Simulation-methods; Protective-clothing; Skin-exposure; Agricultural-workers
Environmental Sciences Rutgers University P O Box 231, Cook College New Brunswick, N J 08903
Publication Date
Document Type
Journal Article
Funding Amount
Funding Type
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
Issue of Publication
Priority Area
Other Occupational Concerns; Grants-other
Source Name
Applied Occupational and Environmental Hygiene
Performing Organization
Rutgers the State Univ New Brunswick, New Brunswick, New Jersey
Page last reviewed: November 6, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division