Pesticide News Story: New Occupational Pesticide Exposure Data
For Release: November 9, 2011
In an effort to increase transparency, EPA has recently developed new web pages that contain technical information and the most current guidance for assessing pesticide exposure for workers who work with pesticides or where they have recently been applied. This information is intended for anyone conducting occupational pesticide exposure assessments. Updated information includes the “Occupational Pesticide Handler Unit Exposure Surrogate Reference Table,” September 2011, and the “Science Advisory Council for Exposure (ExpoSAC) Policy 3,” June 2011.
The agency uses the term “handler” to describe individuals who are involved in, and may be exposed to pesticides during the pesticide application process in agricultural and non-agricultural settings. Handlers can include mixers, loaders, applicators and flaggers. The agency uses “unit exposures” as the basis for assessing handler exposure to pesticides. The updated “Occupational Pesticide Handler Unit Exposure Surrogate Reference Table” contains the current recommended unit exposures for standard agency occupational pesticide handler exposure scenarios.
Post-application exposure may occur while workers perform job-related activities in areas that have been treated with pesticides. These activities include:
- hand-harvesting fruits and vegetables,
- thinning orchard crops,
- scouting fields for pests,
- working in greenhouses and
- maintaining golf courses.
The agency uses “transfer coefficients” as an exposure metric to estimate exposure for individuals conducting post-application activities. The updated “Science Advisory Council for Exposure Policy 3,” describes the Agency’s use of Agricultural Re-entry Task Force data to assess occupational post-application pesticide exposure.
The information on occupational pesticide handlers can be found at http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/science/handler-exposure-data.html, while the information on occupational pesticide post-application exposure data can be found at http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/science/post-app-exposure-data.html.