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Acute pesticide related illness among emergency responders and healthcare professionals in 13 states of the USA, 1993-2000.
Calvert G; Barnett M
Occup Environ Med 2004 Nov; 61(11):e43
Emergency responders, such as firefighters, police officers, and paramedics, are among the first to arrive to the scene of a pesticide related emergency event. This report will summarise pesticide related illnesses among emergency responders and healthcare personnel that occurred between 1993-2000. Data were obtained from the Sentinel Event Notification System for Occupational Risks Pesticides programme (SENSORPesticides), from the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (CDPR), and from the Hazardous Substances Emergency Events Surveillance (HSEES) system. Data on illnesses among emergency responders exposed to pesticides while responding to emergency events were sought, as were data on illnesses among healthcare professionals exposed to pesticides while caring for pesticide contaminated patients. A total of 289 cases were identified from 13 states. Firefighters accounted for 94 cases (33%), law enforcement officers for 80 (28%), paramedics for 40 (14%), healthcare professionals caring for pesticide contaminated patients for 24 (8%), and auxiliary hospital/ clinic staff (such as receptionists and billing clerks) for 8. Finally, 43 cases were other occupations (n = 1) or unspecified first responders (n = 42). Among the 193 cases with information on activity responsible for exposure, most were exposed while performing non-patient care activities related to a pesticide release event (67%), while the remainder involved exposure, to some degree, to a pesticide contaminated patient. Most cases were exposed to insecticides (54%), most commonly organophosphates, carbamates, or pyrethroids. Most had low severity illnesses (89%), and the remainder had illnesses of moderate severity. The findings highlight the health risks faced by emergency personnel responding to pesticide release events, and healthcare professionals treating pesticide contaminated patients. Recommendations to prevent pesticide related illnesses among these workers will be provided.
Pesticides; Emergency-responders; Health-care-personnel; Fire-fighters; Police-officers; Paramedical-services; Occupational-exposure; Occupational-health; Pesticides-and-agricultural-chemicals; Medical-personnel; Insecticides; Health-hazards
Issue of Publication
Occupational and Environmental Medicine
WV; OR; OH
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division