An occupational exposure is the exposure to potentially harmful chemical, physical, or biological agents that occurs as a result of one's occupation. Exposure risk of children to organophosphorus pesticide in an agricultural community in Central Washington State was determined. Spot urine and hand wipe samples were collected from 109 children 9 months to 6 years of age, as were house dust samples, and wipe samples from various surfaces. Children were categorized based on parental occupation (agricultural vs nonagricultural) and on household proximity to pesticide-treated areas. Findings indicate that children living with parents who work with agricultural pesticides, or who live in proximity to pesticide treated farmland, have higher exposures than do other children living in the same community (3).
Children are the most susceptible population to environmental contaminants since: (a) their organs and neurological system are rapidly developing; (b) their intake (air, water, food, beverage) is greater relative to body size and weight; (c) their activities, behavior and proximity to the surfaces enhance their potential contact with toxic substances (4). For the pesticides examined, exposures pose greater risks of chronic effects than acute effects (5).
The Journal of American Medicine recommends adoption of pesticide spray buffer zones around schools (6). Surveys revealed that many farmworkers and their families are not adequately educated as to proper safety precautions. Misconceptions about post-application clean-up procedures and safe levels of proximity to treated crops may increase the risk of exposure for farmworker children (7).
1.Beyond Pesticides: "Pesticides and You"
2. American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language: Exposure
3. Pesticide Exposure in Children in an Agricultural Community...
Mom's pesticide exposure at work increases her child's leukemia risk.
4. Vulnerability of Young Children to Organophosphate Pesticides...
5. Evaluating Health Risks from Occupational Exposure to Pesticides and the Regulatory Response
6 . JAMA: Acute Illnesses Associated With Pesticide Exposure at Schools
7. Farmworker Children