Student Research: Rene Showlund

MS, , 2002
Faculty Advisor:

Transfer of Pesticide Resuidue to Skin Following contact with a Contaminated Surface


Pesticides are used throughout the world for commercial agriculture, residential, and public pest control. Their use presents potential health risks to agricultural workers, residential occupants, and others who may be exposed including children in daycare facilities or schools. Pesticide residues are also present in or on food as a result of their use in the agricultural industry.

There are many different types of pesticides and their categories are based on the target organism. These include insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, and rodenticides. Commonly encountered classes of insecticides include organochlorides, organophosphates, carbamate esters, and pyrethroids. The compounds within these classes have similar chemical structures and modes of action. These insecticides are among the top 10 pesticides most often implicated in poisonings, injuries, and illnesses, as reported by the American Association of Poison Control Center's Toxic Exposure Surveillance System (U.S. EPA, 1999a). The organochlorine (OC) insecticides were developed during the 1930s to replace the highly toxic arsenical insecticides and were widely used in the 1950s and 1960s (National Research Council, 1993). Although the OC insecticides generally have a low acute toxicity, they were found to be very persistent in the environment (Iyaniwura, 1991). For this reason, they were replaced with organophosphate (OP) pesticides in the late 1960s (National Research Council, 1993). The OP Pesticides have a lower persistence in the environment, but have a much higher toxicity (Iyaniwura, 1991). The OP pesticides are the compounds most often implicated in pesticide poisonings, with 4,002 incidents reported to Poison Control Centers in 1996 (U.S. EPA, 1999a).

Pesticide exposure can cause adverse health effects ranging from dizziness and nausea to serious, long-term neurological, developmental and reproductive disorders, and even death (U.S. EPA, 1999b). Differences in pesticide susceptibility and toxicity exist between children and adults (National Research Council, 1993). This is due in part to differences in pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic processes as well as variations in physiological and behavioral characteristics (National Research Council, 1993).

Taken from the beginning of thesis.