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Biological Monitoring of Pesticide Exposures - PS2604

This research study will provide objective evidence to investigate whether the exposure assessments made as part of the process of approving pesticides for use in the UK are sufficiently conservative to ensure that public health is protected. Measurements of specific metabolites of pesticide compounds will be made in the urine of operators who have applied the pesticide, workers who have subsequently had contact with pesticide residues, bystanders (particularly people that live in the neighbourhood of crops treated with pesticides) and consumers. These data will be compared with the levels of these metabolites predicted to be present based on the exposure assessments used in the approval of the pesticide products under study. Due consideration will be given to confounding exposure to biocides or veterinary medicines containing the same active compound being investigated. The work will consider exposure to children and adults as bystanders to ensure that the conclusions are valid for all sectors of the population that may be at risk.
This study is based on the hypothesis that the levels of pesticide biomarkers in exposed people are less than the levels predicted from exposure information used in the regulatory risk assessment and the exposure assessments are protective.
The aim of this research is to compare the levels of a specific pesticide metabolite in the urine of people with documented exposure to that pesticide with the level of metabolite predicted from data obtained from the regulatory process.
To achieve this aim we will address the following objectives:
1. Set up appropriate systems for managing the project and seek ethical approval for the research;
2. Identify one active pesticide compound for the first year of the study with suitable biomarker that may be found in the urine of exposed people, and suggest possible compounds for subsequent years;
3. Identify all approved pesticides, veterinary medicines and biocides that contain the selected compound;
4. Select two or three pesticide products containing this active compound for inclusion in the study;
5. Obtain the regulatory exposure estimates for each of the products from the PSD;
6. Develop a simple pharmacokinetic model to predict the level of the identified biomarker from the regulatory exposure estimates;
7. Find suitable ways of identifying and recruiting people applying the pesticide products;
8. Recruit appropriate bystanders (e.g. neighbours) and workers who may enter treated areas after application, plus consumers;
9. Collect urine samples for biomarker analysis and diary information from all recruits, analyse urine samples;
10. Compare the measured biomarker levels with those predicted by the pharmacokinetic model from the regulatory exposure assessments and diary information;
11. Prepare a report on the study results and discuss possible extension of the work with DEFRA representatives.
Project Documents
• Final Report : Biological monitoring of pesticide exposures   (369k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2004

To: 2006

Cost: £74,339
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Institute of Occupational Medicine
Arable Farming              
Biological Effects              
Health Effects              
Operator Safety              
Pesticide use              
Public Health              
Sustainable Production              
Fields of Study
Pesticide Safety