As part of a study to investigate the potential for organophosphates to cause chronic neurologic sequelae, we assessed the pesticide exposure experience of a group of Washington State apple orchard applicators. Seasonal monitoring of cholinesterase activity for 48 regular organophosphate applicators and a control group of 40 slaughterhouse workers was performed. A subset of the pesticide applicators participated in an in-depth exposure assessment. This involved observation of spraying activities during 1 spray day, as well as cholinesterase monitoring and dermal exposure assessment using a fluorescent tracer in the pesticide formulation. Comparison of seasonal red blood cell cholinesterase change in pesticide workers according to exposure level, characterized by frequency of pesticide spraying and protective equipment use, showed lower cholinesterase levels among higher exposed groups compared to lesser exposed groups. In-depth exposure assessment revealed exposure primarily on the head and hand regions. Subclinical changes (less than 15% inhibition) in red cell cholinesterase correlated well with dermal exposure calculations. This study suggests that cholinesterase monitoring may be a useful biological marker for even subclinical organophosphate pesticide effects.
Organophosphate pesticide exposure in a group of Washington State orchard applicators / Karr, C; Demers, P; Costa, L. G; Daniell, W. E; Barnhart, S; Miller, M; Gallagher, G; Horstman, S. W; Eaton, D; Rosenstock, L.. - In: ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH. - ISSN 0013-9351. - 59:1(1992), p. 229-37.
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