Acute pesticide-related illness among emergency responders, 1993–2002
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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ABSTRACT: Some firefighter station uniforms contain the flame-retardant, antimony trioxide. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health investigated a possible outbreak of antimony toxicity wherein 30 firefighters reported elevated antimony levels on hair analyses. We surveyed and collected urine samples from firefighters not wearing (Fire Department A) and wearing (Fire Department B) antimony-containing pants. Urine antimony concentrations were measured and adjusted for creatinine. All 20 participating firefighters from Fire Department A and 41 (97.6%) of 42 participating firefighters from Fire Department B had urine antimony concentrations below or within the national reference range. No differences in urine antimony levels between departments were detected. Wearing antimony-containing uniforms does not pose a risk for antimony toxicity. This investigation highlights the importance of using validated methods for toxicity determination and of accurate, timely risk communication.Journal of occupational and environmental medicine / American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine 01/2010; 52(1):81-4. DOI:10.1097/JOM.0b013e3181c7514a · 1.80 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Pyrethrin and pyrethroid insecticides are commonly applied in homes and businesses and on some agricultural crops. This research used a two-state regional approach to analyze reports of acute pesticide poisonings due to pyrethrin and pyrethroid insecticides. The Washington State Department of Health and the Oregon Public Health Division collected pesticide poisoning surveillance data from 2001 through 2005. Cases were included if they involved exposure to at least one pyrethrin or pyrethroid insecticide. Descriptive statistics were calculated; differences between categories were assessed using Chi-square analysis. A total of 407 cases fit our definition. Overall, the rate of poisoning in Oregon was significantly higher than in Washington (incidence rate ratio 1.70, 95% confidence interval 1.40, 2.07), and rates for both states generally increased during the time period. For both states, most exposures resulted in low severity illnesses (92%), and most were classified as possible cases (73%). Only about one-fourth of cases were related to a person's work. The most common category of clinical signs and symptoms of illness was respiratory (52% of cases), followed by neurological (40% of cases). Exposure route was predominantly inhalation; there was no association between route and case severity. There was a significant association between illness severity and losing time from work or regular activities (p<0.0001). Although the majority of pyrethrin and pyrethroid poisoning cases were low in severity, adverse reactions have occurred, as transpired in Oregon in 2005. Regional analysis has the potential to improve the surveillance system and provide unique opportunities for targeting preventive interventions.Public Health Reports 124(1):149-59. · 1.64 Impact Factor