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Health hazard evaluation report: HETA-2008-0070-3112, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Los Angeles, California.

Durgam-S; Aristeguieta-C
Cincinnati, OH: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, HETA 2008-0070-3112, 2010 Jul; :1-19
In January 2008, NIOSH received an HHE request from a management representative of the USDA APHIS in Riverdale, Maryland. The requestor was concerned about potential hazards from aquatic plant inspections conducted at PPQ stations throughout the United States. No health effects among APHIS employees were listed in the request. The APHIS PPQ station in Los Angeles, California, was chosen for evaluating exposure risks resulting from disease-carrying insects and pesticides because it has a high volume and frequency of imported aquatic plant shipments. On September 29 - October 3, 2008, we made a site visit to the APHIS PPQ station in Los Angeles, California. We met with management and employee representatives and observed work processes, practices, and workplace conditions. We collected PBZ air samples and surface wipe samples to evaluate pesticide exposures. We talked to employees about their work and related symptoms. We reviewed APHIS wipe sampling records, the OSHA Form 300 Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses for 2005-2008, and other pertinent records. We did not detect the 20 pesticides we analyzed for in the air or on surface wipe samples. No work-related symptoms among APHIS PPQ inspectors were reported. Our findings indicated that respiratory protection is not needed during routine inspection of imported plants. The written respiratory protection program required respirators for specific tasks such as welding and fumigation. However, the program lacked guidance for worksite-specific procedures such as the chemical dip process, and employees were uncertain about when respirators were needed. Employees used disposable gloves when conducting plant inspections and knew the potential hazards from disease-carrying insects found in aquatic plant shipments. We found a potential risk of contracting a parasitic or bacterial infection from splashes with contaminated water when inspecting aquatic plants. We recommend revising the written respiratory protection program to provide worksite-specific guidance including the type of respirator needed and job tasks that require respirator use. Employees should continue to wear disposable gloves, clear face shields along with safety glasses, and long sleeve garments such as lab coats to further minimize the potential for inadvertent exposure to pesticides and disease-carrying insects. Employees should also continue to use newspapers or other absorbent pads to absorb residual contaminated water when inspecting imported aquatic plants.
Region-9; Agricultural-industry; Agricultural-chemicals; Pesticides; Pesticides-and-agricultural-chemicals; Insecticides; Personal-protective-equipment; Personal-protection; Protective-equipment; Protective-clothing; Protective-measures; Author Keywords: Regulation of Agricultural Marketing and Commodities; plant inspection; aquatic plants; snails; pesticides; PPE
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National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division