Saf Health Work.  2013 Sep;4(3):136-141.

Dermal Exposure Associated with Occupational End Use of Pesticides and the Role of Protective Measures

  • 1Monash Centre for Occupational and Environmental Health, School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia.
  • 2Western Australian Institute for Medical Research, University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia.
  • 3McCaughey Centre, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia.
  • 4School of Population Health, University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia.


Occupational end users of pesticides may experience bodily absorption of the pesticide products they use, risking possible health effects. The purpose of this paper is to provide a guide for researchers, practitioners, and policy makers working in the field of agricultural health or other areas where occupational end use of pesticides and exposure issues are of interest.
This paper characterizes the health effects of pesticide exposure, jobs associated with pesticide use, pesticide-related tasks, absorption of pesticides through the skin, and the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) for reducing exposure.
Although international and national efforts to reduce pesticide exposure through regulatory means should continue, it is difficult in the agricultural sector to implement engineering or system controls. It is clear that use of PPE does reduce dermal pesticide exposure but compliance among the majority of occupationally exposed pesticide end users appears to be poor. More research is needed on higher-order controls to reduce pesticide exposure and to understand the reasons for poor compliance with PPE and identify effective training methods.


agricultural workers' diseases; occupational exposure; pesticides; protective clothing; skin absorption
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