Article

Acute pesticide-related illness among emergency responders, 1993–2002

Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations, and Field Studies, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Cincinnati, Ohio 45226, USA.
American Journal of Industrial Medicine (Impact Factor: 1.59). 05/2006; 49(5):383-93. DOI: 10.1002/ajim.20286
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Emergency responders are among the first to arrive at a pesticide-related release event. Magnitude, severity, and risk factor information on acute pesticide poisoning among those workers is needed.
Survey data collected from the SENSOR-Pesticides, CDPR and HSEES programs between 1993 and 2002 from 21 states were reviewed. Acute occupational pesticide-related illness incidence rates for each category of emergency responder were calculated, as were incidence rate ratios (IRR) among emergency responders compared to all other workers employed in non-agricultural industries.
A total of 291 cases were identified. Firefighters accounted for 111 cases (38%), law enforcement officers for 104 cases (36%), emergency medical technicians for 34 cases (12%), and 42 cases (14%) were unspecified emergency responders. Among the 200 cases with information on activity responsible for exposure, most were exposed while performing activities related to a pesticide release event (84%) and not involving patient care, while the remainder involved exposure to pesticide-contaminated patients. A majority of cases were exposed to insecticides (51%). Most had low severity illnesses (90%). The incidence rate was highest for firefighters (39.1/million) and law enforcement officers (26.6/million). The IRRs were also elevated for these professions (firefighters, IRR = 2.67; law enforcement officers, IRR = 1.69).
The findings suggest the need for greater efforts to prevent acute occupational pesticide-related illness among emergency responders.

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