Attention: You may submit blood samples for the 2015 season. Baseline testing for 2015 has begun.
View WAC 296-307-148, Cholinesterase Monitoring (4.86 MB PDF).
What are employers required to do?
The rule requires employers of agricultural pesticide handlers who use toxicity class I or II organophosphate or N-methyl-carbamate pesticides to take the following steps:
Employer cost reimbursement
Employers may request reimbursement for the reasonable costs of training, recordkeeping, and medical expenses for cholinesterase monitoring by submitting the Cholinesterase Monitoring Reimbursement Request form along with required documentation.
What is cholinesterase?
Cholinesterase (acetyl cholinesterase) is an enzyme that removes the chemical neurotransmitter acetylcholine from the junctions between nerves cells. Cholinesterase serves as the nervous system's "off switch" and is essential to the normal function of the nervous system.
Why monitor cholinesterase levels?
Exposure to organophosphate or N-methyl-carbamate pesticides may lower the level of available cholinesterase. Without the normal protective levels of cholinesterase, nerves in the body may be overstimulated to the point of exhaustion, leading to symptoms ranging from blurred vision, diarrhea and tremors to seizures, loss of consciousness and even death. Monitoring cholinesterase levels in the blood through simple laboratory tests can detect cholinesterase depression prior to the onset of illness. When significant cholinesterase depression is identified employers are required to evaluate their pesticide worker protection program and make corrections to prevent further over-exposure.
What are the benefits of cholinesterase monitoring?
The cholinesterase monitoring Cost Benefit Determination and Small Business Impact Statement identified the following benefits of cholinesterase monitoring:
Prevention of illness after over-exposure.
Increase hazard awareness and improve overall workplace safety related to pesticide use.
Improve pesticide illness diagnosis and reporting.
Provide greater certianty about frequency of pesticide over-exposure.
Decrease the risk of unintended exposures to workers families.
2014 Final Report: Cholinesterase Monitoring of Pesticide Handlers in Agriculture (52 KB PDF). 2013 Final Report: Cholinesterase Monitoring of Pesticide Handlers in Agriculture (53 KB PDF). 2012 Final Report: Cholinesterase Monitoring of Pesticide Handlers in Agriculture (147 KB PDF). Contact Veda Moline for reports from previous years.
Worker Protection Standard Checklist (157 KB PDF): Use this checklist to evaluate your pesticide worker protection program and employee pesticide handling practices.
Cholinesterase monitoring fact sheets for employees:
Jorge's New Job- Washington - PDF Booklet (English & Spanish) (F417-213-909).
Pesticide Worker Protection Standard (WPS) (4.86 MB PDF).
Sample Training Program (128 KB PDF).
How can I get help from L&I?
The L&I office in your area has industrial hygienists who can assist with specific questions. Please call your local area L&I office and ask for a consultation supervisor.
Region 1: 425-290-1300 Island, San Juan, Skagit, Snohomish, and Whatcom counties.
Region 5: 509-454-3700 or 1-800-354-5423 Adams—west side, Asotin, Benton, Chelan, Columbia, Douglas, Franklin, Grant, Kittitas, Okanogan, Walla Walla and Yakima counties.
For general information, call 1-800-423-7233.
Disclaimer and Reproduction Information: Information in NASD does not represent NIOSH policy. Information included in NASD appears by permission of the author and/or copyright holder. More