The Bugwood Network

Exposure to Pesticides

How personnel are exposed to pesticides and what to do about it – safety equipment and common sense.


Exposure to Pesticides: Common Routes

  • Dermal – Skin
    • Hands
    • Arms
    • Face & Head
    • Eyes
  • Oral – mouth & gasterointestinal tract
  • Inhalation – nose & lungs
  • For humans – dermal is the most significant route of exposure
  • Safety equipment is available to minimize dermal exposures
    • Face shields or goggles, eyewash bottles
    • Hard hats
    • Long sleeved shirts, long pants & waterproofed boots
    • Tyvek coveralls
    • Nitrile gloves
    • Soap and water
  • Safety equipment is also available to minimize inhalation exposures
    • Face masks
    • Nasal filters
    • Gas masks
  • Generally are not necessary
  • Fumigation projects or enclosed spaces may require this form of protection

Exposure to Pesticides: R-8 Exposure Studies

So, what does this mean in the field? Forest Service R8 contracted with the Georgia Tech Research Institute, Environmental Health and Safety Division to perform field dermal exposure studies.


  • Three studies conducted
    • North Georgia – directed foliar application of Garlon 4
    • Kentucky – London, Somerset & Stearns RD – Streamline basal bark application of Garlon 4
    • North Georgia – Clayton; and South Carolina – Savannah River Plant site & Edgefield RD – Directed foliar application of Roundup


Location of test patches and air sampler on body and clothes of volunteers
in the studies – all volunteers had the same sample patch locations.








Three studies conducted

  • North Georgia - directed foliar application of Garlon 4*
  • Kentucky - London, Somerset & Sterns RD - Streamline basal bark application of Garlon 4*
  • North Georgia - Clayton; and South Carolina - Savannah River Plant site & Edgefield RD - Directed foliar application of Roundup

Exposure to Pesticides: R-8 Exposure Studies

  • North Georgia, foliar Garlon 4, Site 1
    • 2 – 3’ brush and herbaceous undergrowth
    • Mixing – Nurse tank
    • Solo backpack with wand, 2503 tips
    • 5 diaphragm and 1 piston pump
    • Rubber gloves to mix, leather gloves worn during application

  • North Georgia, foliar Garlon 4, Site 2
    • 4 – 8’ brush with intermediate undergrowth
    • Mixing – each backpack
    • Solo backpack, Model 30 Gun jet, 2503 tip
    • All diaphragm pumps

  • Kentucky – Streamline Garlon 4 – London
    • 2 – 3’ brush, low density
    • Mixing – 5 gal nurse tank
    • Solo backpack, Model 30 Gunjet, DE2 tips
    • 1 diaphragm & 3 piston pumps
    • 4/4 wore leather gloves when applying

  • Kentucky – Streamline Garlon 4 – Somerset
    • 6’ brush, density greater than London
    • Mixing – 5 gal nurse tank
    • Solo backpack, Model 30 Gunjet, DE2 tips
    • All (6) diaphragm pumps
    • Only 1 of 6 wore (leather) gloves during application
    • 4 hours worked

  • Kentucky – Streamline Garlon 4 – Stearns
    • 8 - 10’ brush, density similar to Somerset
    • Mixing – 5 gal nurse tank
    • Solo backpack, Model 30 Gunjet, DE2 tips
    • All (6) diaphragm pumps
    • 4 of 6 wore gloves when applying

  • Clayton, Georgia Site; foliar Roundup
    • 2-3’ tall, low-density brush
    • Mixture in nurse tank
    • Mixer wore Playtex latex gloves
    • Solo backpack sprayers, Gunjet with 2503 tip
    • 2/5 wore leather gloves during application; 3/5 no gloves

  • Aiken, South Carolina; foliar Roundup
    • 4 - 6’ tall brush
    • Mixture in nurse tank
    • Mixer wore latex gloves
    • Solo backpack sprayers, Gunjet with 2503 tip
    • 4/5 latex gloves, 1/5 leather gloves

  • Edgefield, South Carolina; foliar Roundup
    • 4 - 6’ tall brush
    • Mixture in nurse tank
    • Mixer wore neoprene gloves
    • Solo backpack sprayers with wand, 2503 tip
    • 5/5 wore cotton work gloves

  • Triclopyr results similar to projections from the VMFEIS
    • Streamline basal bark Garlon 4-- geometric mean MOS from study – 262 (predicted 880)
    • Directed foliar spray Garlon 4-- geometric mean MOS of 153 (predicted 290)
  • Glyphosate results nowhere near the projected - but better than predicted
    • Directed foliar spray of Roundup– geometric mean of 155,204 (predicted 600)

  • However
    • Garlon 4 MOSs ran from 44 to 3515 with 2 of the 16 applicators having MOSs of <100 (44 & 53)
    • Garlon 3A MOSs ran from 23 to 845 with 5 applicators of the 22 having MOSs of <100 (18, 23, 26, 47, 65, & 83)
    • Roundup MOSs ran from 20,980 to 128,841

  • So, as the triclopyr products show
    • Individual performance in the field, and
    • Individual sensitivity
    • Led to some individuals receiving unacceptably high doses of pesticide during application
  • Reasons for the high doses are unclear


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College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences - Dept. of Entomology
Last updated on Wednesday, November 06, 2002 at 02:54 PM
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