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A pilot study of workplace dermal exposures to cypermethrin at a chemical manufacturing plant.

Buckley TJ; Geer LA; Connor TH; Robertson S; Sammons D; Smith J; Snawder J; Boeniger M
J Occup Environ Hyg 2011 Oct; 8(10):600-608
Exposure during the manufacture of pesticides is of particular concern due to their toxicity and because little is known about worker exposure, since most studies have focused on end-use application within agriculture or buildings. Even though dermal exposure can be expected to dominate for pesticides, little is known about workplace dermal exposures or even appropriate methods for their assessment. The current study begins to address this gap by evaluating alternative methods for assessing dermal exposure at a chemical manufacturing plant. For this pilot study, eight workers were recruited from a U.S. plant that produced the pesticide cypermethrin. Exposure was evaluated using three approaches: (1) survey assessment (questionnaire), (2) biological monitoring, and (3) workplace environmental sampling including ancillary measurements of glove contamination (interior and exterior). In each case, cypermethrin was quantified by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Environmental measurements identified two potential pathways of cypermethrin exposure: glove and surface contamination. Workplace exposure was also indicated by urine levels (specific gravity adjusted) of the parent compound, which ranged from 35 to 253 µg/L (median of 121 µg/L) with no clear trend in levels from pre- to post-shift. An exploratory analysis intended to guide future studies revealed a positive predictive association (Spearman correlation, p = 0.10) between post-shift urine concentrations and a subset of survey questions evaluating worker knowledge, attitudes, and perceptions (KAP) of workplace dermal hazards, i.e., personal protective equipment self-efficacy, and inverse associations with behavior belief and information belief scales. These findings are valuable in demonstrating a variety of dermal exposure methods (i.e., behavioral attributes, external contamination, and biomarker) showing feasibility and providing measurement ranges and preliminary associations to support future and more complete assessments. Although these pilot data are useful for supporting design and sample size considerations for larger exposure and health studies, there is a need for validation studies of the ELISA assay for quantification of cypermethrin and its metabolites in urine.
Pesticides; Pesticide-residues; Skin-exposure; Exposure-limits; Exposure-levels; Work-environment; Work-areas; Workers; Behavior-patterns; Behavior; Chemical-industry-workers; Chemical-reactions; Questionnaires; Statistical-analysis; Epidemiology; Biological-monitoring; Sampling; Environmental-exposure; Author Keywords: attitudes; behavior; beliefs; biological monitoring; personal protective equipment; surface sampling
Timothy J. Buckley, Division of Environmental Health Sciences, The Ohio State University College of Public Health, 320 West 10th Avenue, Columbus, OH 43210-1240
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Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene
Page last reviewed: March 18, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division