Pesticides Residue - Risks Update
By Mark Foley
An investigation, by the Health and Safety Executive into the application of pesticides, has revealed that although workers adhere to control procedures and the use of Personal Protective Equipment, risk due to residual contamination is still evident. Samples were taken from protective clothing, spray delivery systems and tractors and tests for thirteen pesticides carried out.
Concerns arise from the amount of residue, (especially from herbicides), left behind after washing vehicles and equipment, presenting a potential, longer-term health risk. Generally, workers do not have a regular routine for the type ofspecialised cleaning required.
The problem occurs with pesticides that are not water soluble; their oily residue remaining for a significant length of time. Organophosphate pesticides were not prominent in the results as these breakdown and clear more rapidly.
Protective, cotton gloves do prevent direct contamination; however, re-use promotes transfer of residue to their interior. Monitoring continual re-use of gloves has shown that contamination regularly exceeds the acceptable daily intake level (ADI) and can build up to more than 15 times this acceptable measure.