Pesticide Biomonitoring in Florida Agricultural Workers

Abstract

This descriptive study evaluates the blood serum levels of relevant pesticides in fern/ornamental and tomato agricultural workers in central and south Florida whose work activity is related to pesticide application or crop maintenance. The objectives of this study are to broadly evaluate pesticide absorption in agricultural workers, assess personal protective equipment (PPE) use and their potential relevance to pesticide absorption, and to evaluate the feasibility of using primary biomonitoring as a method of exposure assessment for long-term epidemiological investigations. Three rounds of sampling were conducted where 41 subjects provided serum samples analyzed for individual pesticides and responded to a survey regarding PPE use. Serum samples yielded quantifiable detections of DDE, Methiocarb, Malathion, Chlorpyrifos, and Endosulfan in select subjects. The personal protective equipment survey did not demonstrate association with positive serum samples. These results demonstrate that the evaluated workers are effectively protected against exposures known to result in acute toxicity. Biomonitoring for parent compounds and primary metabolites may have limited utility in long-term epidemiological studies to evaluate chronic toxicity where workers are exposed to a great diversity of workplace chemicals (fern/or- namental workers) compared to agricultural sectors where workplace chemical diversity is more limited (tomato workers).

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Johnson, G. , Morris, S. , McCluskey, J. , Xu, P. and Harbison, R. (2014) Pesticide Biomonitoring in Florida Agricultural Workers. Occupational Diseases and Environmental Medicine, 2, 30-38. doi: 10.4236/odem.2014.22004.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

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