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Acephate exposure and decontamination on tobacco harvesters hands.
Curwin BD; Hein MJ; Sanderson WT; Nishioka M; Buhler W
J Expo Anal Environ Epidemiol 2003 May; 13(3):203-210
Agricultural workers manually harvesting tobacco have the potential for high dermal exposure to pesticides, particularly on the hands. Often gloves are not worn as it hinders the harvesters' ability to harvest the tobacco leaves. To enable harvesters to remove pesticide residue on the hands and decrease absorbed doses, the EPA Worker Protection Standard requires growers to have hand-wash stations available in the field. The purpose of this study was to measure the concentration of acephate residue on the hands of tobacco harvesters, and the effectiveness of hand washing in reducing the acephate residue. Hand-wipes from the hands of 12 tobacco harvesters were collected at the end of the morning and at the end of the afternoon over 2 consecutive days. Each harvester had one hand-wiped prior to washing his hands, and the other hand-wiped after washing his hands with soap and water. In addition to the hand-wipe samples, leaf-wipe samples were collected from 15 tobacco plants to determine the amount of acephate residue on the plants. The average acephate level in leaf-wipe samples was 1.4 ng/cm(2). The geometric mean prewash and postwash acephate levels on the hands were 10.5 and 0.4 ng/cm(2), respectively. Both prewash (P-value=0.0009) and postwash hand (P-value=0.01) samples were positively correlated with leaf-wipe concentrations. Tobacco harvester position tended to influence hand exposure. Hand washing significantly reduced acephate levels on the hand, after adjusting for sampling period, hand sampled, job position, and leaf-wipe concentration (P-value< or =0.0001) with levels reduced by 96%. A substantial amount of acephate was transferred to the hands, and while hand washing significantly reduced the amount of residue on the hands, not all residue was removed.
Decontamination; Tobacco; Tobacco-dusts; Tobacco-industry; Agricultural-industry; Agricultural-workers; Occupational-exposure; Pesticides; Pesticides-and-agricultural-chemicals; Insecticides; Farmers
Dr. Brian Curwin, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations and Field Studies, Industrywide Studies Branch, 4676 Columbia Parkway MS R-14, Cincinnati. Ohio 45226, USA
Issue of Publication
Journal of Exposure Analysis and Environmental Epidemiology
Page last reviewed: October 26, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division