Original article

Scand J Work Environ Health 1999;25(1):33-38    pdf


Exposure of farmers to phosmet, a swine insecticide

by Stewart PA, Fears T, Kross B, Ogilvie L, Blair A

Objectives The goal of this study was to measure dermal and inhalation exposures to phosmet during application to animals and to identify what determinants of exposure influence the exposure levels.

Methods Ten farmers were monitored using dermal patches, gloves, and air sampling media during normal activities of applying phosmet to pigs for insect control. Exposures were measured on the clothing (outer), under the clothing (inner), on the hands, and in the air. Possible exposure determinants were identified, and a questionnaire on work practices was administered.

Results The geometric mean of the outer exposure measurements was 79 mg/h, whereas the geometric mean of the inner exposure measurements was 6 mg/h. The geometric mean for hand exposure was 534 mg/h, and the mean air concentration was 0.2 mg/m3. Glove use was associated with the hand and total dermal exposure levels, but no other determinant was associated with any of the exposure measures. The average penetration through the clothing was 54%, which dropped to 8% when the farmers wearing short sleeves were excluded. The farmers reported an average of 40 hours a year performing insecticide-related tasks.

Conclusion Farmers who applied phosmet to animals had measurable exposures, but the levels were lower than what has been seen in other pesticide applications. Inhalation exposures were insignificant when compared with dermal exposures, which came primarily from the hands. Clothing, particularly gloves, provided substantial protection from exposures. No other exposure determinant was identified.