The determinants of dermal exposure ranking method (DERM): a pesticide exposure assessment approach for developing countries

Ann Occup Hyg. 2008 Aug;52(6):535-44. doi: 10.1093/annhyg/men035. Epub 2008 Jul 7.


A new method for assessment of dermal exposure to pesticides in subsistence farmers by use of determinants of dermal exposure is described. The method, called the determinants of dermal exposure ranking method (DERM), is a combination of checklists and expert rating assessment. Thus, determinants are listed in a form, which is used to check their presence and to assess them using a simple algorithm based on two factors, the type of transport process (T value) and the area of body surface exposed (A value). In addition, the type of clothing worn during applications is included as a protection factor. We applied the DERM to real pesticide applications, characterizing dermal exposure and comparing DERM estimates with earlier developed semiquantitative visual scores based on fluorescent tracer, the total visual score (TVS) and contaminated body area (CBA). DERM showed a very good level of agreement with both the TVS (r = 0.69; P = 0.000) and the CBA (r = 0.67; P = 0.000). DERM allowed identification of the determinants that had the highest effect on exposure and the farmers with the highest exposure. In conclusion, DERM provided information on the determinants responsible for dermal exposure in a group of subsistence farmers. This can be useful to design monitoring and preventive programs, define priorities for intervention and prioritize and select most adequate measurement strategies. DERM promises to be a low-cost easy-to-use method to assess dermal exposure to pesticides in developing country conditions.

MeSH terms

  • Agriculture*
  • Clothing
  • Developing Countries*
  • Environmental Monitoring / methods
  • Humans
  • Nicaragua
  • Occupational Exposure / analysis*
  • Pesticides / analysis*
  • Skin / drug effects*


  • Pesticides