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Biological monitoring of pesticide exposure in residents - PS2620

The use of pesticides and their possible health effects is a subject that gives rise to much public concern and discussion. There have been reports of ill health attributed to pesticide exposure. In particular, some people living next to agricultural land, rightly or wrongly, attribute health problems to their exposure from pesticides resulting from spraying these fields. There is currently a lack of reliable exposure information for residents and bystanders in the UK. In a previous study, we showed that the methods currently used for assessing pesticide exposure for regulatory purposes were appropriate for farm workers. However, the method appeared to underestimate the actual levels for bystanders. No measurements were collected for residents. Further measurements will be made to determine if current tools and methods are appropriate for assessing exposure amongst residents living near fields.

This study will investigate the pesticide exposure amongst residents (adults and children) living next to agricultural fields and will assess the exposure models used for regulatory risk assessment. Exposure to pesticides will be measured using urine samples.

The study will first carry out a pilot study to test and refine the recruitment and data collection procedures. Subsequently, surveys will be carried out in three regions in the UK (East Lothian, Kent and East Anglia) during two spraying seasons as well as outside the spraying seasons. East Lothian is a major arable crop growing area in Scotland and is near to the IOM which will facilitate recruitment and data collection. East Anglia is also a major arable area with very large fields. Most of the orchards in the UK are located in Kent. Due to the methods of spraying involved, it is likely that exposure from spraying orchards represents the worst case scenario. We will therefore be able to collect exposure data from a variety of situations.

We plan to carry out the pilot study in East Lothian during January and February 2011. Subsequently, the survey will be extended during the spraying seasons of 2011 (East Lothian and Kent) and 2012 (East Lothian, Kent and East Anglia). After the end of the spraying seasons, we will be collected additional urine samples (in October or November) to provide information on pesticide exposure outside the spraying season. We will develop a detailed protocol at the end of the pilot study and will again review the study design at the end of the first full survey.

The project is a collaborative study between the Institute of Occupational Medicine (IOM), the Health and Safety Laboratory (HSL) and the School of Built and Natural Environment, Glasgow Caledonian University. IOM will lead the project and take responsibility for collecting samples, analysing the data and preparation of the final report. The HSL will carry out the analyses of the urine samples and interpretation of the analytical results. The School of Built and Natural Environment will provide advice and training in community engagement and recruitment.
1. To obtain ethical approval;

2. To select appropriate pesticides and active ingredients;

3. To identify and recruit suitable farms and residents and carry out a pilot study;

4. To collect and analyse urine samples of farmers and residents during two spraying season;

5. To predict the level of metabolites in urine using a pharmacokinetic model;

6. To predict resident exposure to pesticides using the CRD regulatory risk assessment approach;

7. To compare predicted and measured pesticide exposure; and

8. To report of the study results, including preparation of peer-reviewed publications.
Project Documents
• EVID4 - Final project report : PS2620 final report   (583k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2010

To: 2015

Cost: £753,663
Contractor / Funded Organisations
University - Glasgow Caledonian, Institute of Occupational Medicine, Health & Safety Laboratory
Agricultural Land              
Biological Effects              
Environment and Health              
Environmental monitoring              
Monitoring and evaluation              
Pest and Weed Control              
Pesticide use              
Plants and Animals              
Residues Testing              
Fields of Study
Pesticide Safety