Improving PPE Effectiveness in Agricultural Applications

This project responds to specified PPE needs for the tree fruit and related industries in Washington State that can reduce pesticide handler exposure and potential pesticide-related illness. Three safety concerns of WA airblast pesticide applicators were addressed: 1) data-driven respirator cartridge change-out schedule, 2) field efficacy of gloves used by pesticide handlers, 3) the effectiveness of a PPE hat that could be used with PPE suits and jackets.

PPE Needs were identified by the Expert Working Group established by the "Interventions to Minimize Worker and Family Pesticide Exposure" project.  One was for a personal protective equipment (PPE) hat with a brim that can be worn under a PPE hood that will improve a pesticide handler's ability to see. The other two needs were to evaluate the field performance of reusable nitrile gloves and the respirator cartridge/filter combination (organic vapor cartridge with R95 pre-filter) frequently used while spraying. Unique in this project was the evaluation of breakthrough for chemical mixtures and air concentrations during the work activity. This study provided field data directly relevant to workers in Washington State and a prototype PPE hat that is currently being piloted in the field.


Principal Investigator: Michael Yost, PhD, MS

Professor, Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences
University of Washington

Washington State MAAF 2012-2014

Partners and Advisories
WSU Extension
WSDA - Farmworker Education Project