The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

5176.0: Wednesday, November 19, 2003 - 2:45 PM

Abstract #64990

Occupational tasks and organophosphate pesticide exposure among farm workers in Eastern Washington State

Gloria Coronado, PhD1, Beti Thompson, PhD1, and William Griffith, PhD2. (1) Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, 1100 Fairview Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109, 206-667-4216,, (2) University of Washington, 4225 Roosevelt Way NE #100, Seattle, WA 98105

Little is known about pesticide exposure among farm workers, and even less is known about the exposure associated with performing specific farm tasks. Using a random sample of 213 farm workers in twenty-four communities and labor camps in Eastern Washington State, we examined the association between occupational task and pesticide residues in dust and metabolite concentrations in urine samples of adult farm workers and their children. The data are from a larger study that sought to test a culturally-appropriate intervention to break the take-home pathway of pesticide exposure. Commonly reported farm tasks were harvesting or picking (79.2%), thinning (64.2%), loading plants or produce (42.2%), planting or transplanting (37.6%), and pruning (37.2%). Mixing, loading or applying pesticide formulations was reported by 27 percent of our sample. Workers who thinned were more likely than those who did not to have detectible levels of azinphosmethyl in their house dust (92.1% vs. 72.7%; p=.001) and vehicle dust (92.6% vs. 76.5%; p=.002). Thinning was associated with higher pesticide urinary metabolite concentrations in children (91.9% detectible vs. 81.3%; p=.02) but not in adults. Contrary to expectation, workers who reported mixing, loading or applying pesticide formulations were less likely than those who did not to have detectible pesticide residues in their house or vehicle dust; the association were significant for vehicle concentrations of malathion (4.9% vs. 18.8%; p=.03) and methyl parathion (2.4% vs. 14.8%; p=.03). Future research should evaluate workplace protective practices of fieldworkers and the adequacy of re-entry intervals for pesticides used during thinning.

Learning Objectives:

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Farmworkers: Pesticides and Other Hazards

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA