Sequential Indoor Use of Pesticides: Operator Exposure via Deposit Transfer from Sprayed Crops and Contaminated Application Equipment
Dermal transfer of pesticide residues to human skin due to contact with treated crops, treated surfaces, or contaminated surfaces is an important route of exposure for operators, workers and possibly for bystanders and residents. However, information on dermal transfer data is limited and mainly available for workers. The aim of the present study has been to generate both dermal exposure and transfer data related for operators involved in sequential tasks of mixing/loading and application of pesticides in a southern EU zone greenhouse. Exposure measurements were based on the principles of the whole-body dosimetry (WBD) method involving the use of cotton coveralls and gloves as dosimeters. Six field trials were conducted in three tomato greenhouses, on the island of Crete, Greece. The study results showed that the contribution of existing pesticide deposits on the treated crops, i.e., from an application conducted earlier the same day, was in the range of 8–16% for the application task and 0.9–18% for the mixing/loading task in relation to the measured total exposure to this pesticide during a short-term sequential application. The results of this study have been incorporated in the GAOEM (Greenhouse Agricultural Operator Exposure Model) included in the updated EFSA Guidance on the assessment of exposure of operators, workers, residents and bystanders in risk assessment of plant protection products. The low values of the pesticide amount penetrating the coverall (actual dermal exposure) in all cases highlight and confirm the need for the use of appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) for operator safety. © 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
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Applied Sciences, 12 (12)