Rassegna bibliografica

Vol. 86, Iss. 4, May 2013

Personal air sampling and risks of inhalation exposure during atrazine application in Honduras


Purpose To assess occupational inhalation exposure to the herbicide atrazine during pesticide application in a developing country.

Methods Personal air samples were collected during atrazine application using a personal sampling pump equipped with an OSHA Versatile Sampler (OVS-2) sorbent tube. Samples were collected from 24 pesticide applicators in Honduras. Application was observed during sampling, and a survey was completed in the home.

Results Fourteen of the 24 participants used pump backpack sprayers to apply atrazine and 10 used tractor/boom systems. Despite applying about 15 times as much atrazine, the tractor/boom participants (11.5 μg/m3) had only slightly higher (not statistically significant) time-weighted averages (TWA) than participants using backpack sprayers (9.6 μg/m3). Within the backpack sprayer group, those that used a cone spray nozzle (11.54 μg/m3) had nearly double the TWA than applicators using a flat spray nozzle (5.98 μg/m3; P = 0.04). In the tractor/boom group, the participants that rode on the boom or the back of the tractor monitoring nozzles (15.0 μg/m3) had almost double the average TWA than tractor drivers (8.0 μg/m3; P = 0.097).

Conclusions Since tractor/boom pesticide application decreases the number of man-hours required to apply pesticides, and does not increase inhalation exposure significantly, it decreases the overall population occupational exposure. Monitoring nozzles on booms from a distance rather than on the back of a tractor or boom may decrease or eliminate inhalation exposure. Use of flat spray nozzles for herbicide application among pump backpack sprayers may reduce their inhalation exposure.


Atrazine, Central America, Herbicide, Honduras, Inhalation exposure, Pesticide exposure, Pesticide exposure assessment

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