Scand J Work Environ Health 2005;31 suppl 1:67-73    pdf

State-of-the-art measurement of agricultural pesticide exposures

by Fenske RA

Accurate exposure estimates are a common goal for risk assessment and epidemiologic research. Current methods for measuring agricultural pesticide exposure have not been fully validated. Epidemiologic studies use questionnaires to estimate exposures, producing job-exposure matrices and exposure algorithms. Biological monitoring can assist in the validation of questionnaire data. Pesticide risk assessments tend to rely on models derived from personal measurements of dermal exposure collected in quasi-experimental studies. Such studies often place constraints on exposure variability. Observational studies of occupational pesticide exposure that incorporate repeated measures are needed to improve the quality of exposure information. Pesticide exposure of family members can occur through spray drift and para-occupational exposures. Residential proximity to pesticide applications has been investigated recently with geographic information system (GIS), and global positioning system (GPS) technology. Biological monitoring can help to characterize exposure pathways in agricultural communities.