Selected Incidents of Illnesses and Injuries Related to Exposure to Pesticides Reported by Physicians in California in 1986

  • Edmiston, Susan;
  • Maddy, Keith T.


California collects data on most occupational and many non-occupational illnesses and injuries related to pesticide exposure. Most of the occupational incidents are investigated by local agencies. A thorough investigation is conducted on all pesticide-related cases that meet "priority" guidelines: death; hospitalization of 1 or more persons for more than 24 hours with treatment; or 5 or more people with symptoms seeking medical care as a result of the same incident. This report summarizes he priority cases determined to be related to pesticide exposure during 1986. Of the 67 described incidents, involving 583 people ill, 26 (38%) were related to exposure to pesticides applied indoors (residences, offices), either by commercial pest control companies, employees or homeowners. Nearly 200 people (33%) became ill and more than 200 people were evacuated as a result of these types of applications. Most of these incidents were a result of careless application techniques and not following label instructions. Four other incidents, with 33 people ill, were the result of spills in retail stores. In all 4 cases, store employees tried to clean the spill without wearing protective clothing. Two other cases involved exposure via a pesticide being put in a food container. Nineteen of these type of incidents involved a pesticide product containing an organophosphate; most often chlorpyrifos (8 incidents), diazinon (3 incidents), and malathion (5 incidents). There were also 10 cases that resulted from suicide; eight different pesticides were involved. Five incidents involving agricultural workers, as well as 4 incidents involving non-agricultural workers, were primarily the result of allowing pesticides to drift from the target field. Other agricultural-related cases resulted from carelessness on the part of the pesticide handler and violations of laws and regulations in California.


JOURNAL: Vet Hum Toxicol. 1988; 30(3): 246-254.

Note: Veterinary and Human Toxicology.

NLOM ID#: 88265812 .

Publication #: 88265812

This document was extracted from the CDC-NIOSH Epidemiology of Farm Related Injuries: Bibliography With Abstracts, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

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