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Effectiveness of personal protective equipment: Relevance of dermal and inhalation exposure to chlorpyrifos among pest control operators

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Author: Jagt, K. van der · Tielemans, E. · Links, I. · Brouwer, D. · Hemmen, J. van
Institution: TNO Voeding
Source:Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene, 6, 1, 355-362
Identifier: 237806
doi: doi:10.1080/15459620490449710
Keywords: Chemistry Safety · Food and Chemical Risk Analysis · Chlorpyrifos · Intervention research · Personal protective equipment · Pest control operator · chlorpyrifos · pyridinol · article · glove · human · mask · pest control · priority journal · protective equipment · shoe · urine · worker · Administration, Cutaneous · Chlorpyrifos · Equipment Design · Humans · Inhalation Exposure · Insect Control · Insecticides · Occupational Exposure · Protective Devices


This study assessed the effectiveness of a custom fit personal protective equipment (PPE) program aimed at reducing occupational exposure to pesticides. The intervention study was carried out on 15 pest control operators (PCOs) during mixing/loading and application of chlorpyrifos. Each worker was measured twice; first while the worker used PPE as normal (baseline measurement), and second after making some adjustments to the PPE (postintervention measurement). The applied intervention consisted of a tight-fitting, full-face respirator, fit-testing, long gloves, chemical-proof boots, a Tyvek® hood, and an instruction video that was shown prior to putting on the PPE. A comprehensive evaluation program was used for the within-subject comparisons, including assessment of potential dermal exposure, actual dermal exposure, inhalation exposure, and internal dose as measured by the urinary metabolite 3,5,6-trichloro-2-pyridinol (TCP). The PPE program resulted in a significant increase in fit factors from a mean of 670 to 132,000. Actual dermal exposure levels decreased on average by fourfold after implementation of the PPE program (baseline AM = 132.1 μg; postintervention AM = 32.6 μg). The TCP levels in urine collected 24-32 hours after spray activities were lower in the postintervention data set (AM = 21.2 μg TCP/g creatinine vs. AM = 13.9 μg TCP/g creatinine). However, it is impossible to attribute these differences totally to the PPE program since workers had significant and varying urinary TCP levels before onset of spraying activities. Linear regression models showed that dermal exposure was only a predictive parameter for TCP levels in urine in the baseline data set. Although the results should be interpreted cautiously this study suggests a protective effect of the evaluated PPE program.