Exposure opportunities of families of farmer pesticide applicators

Am J Ind Med. 1998 Dec;34(6):581-7. doi: 10.1002/(sici)1097-0274(199812)34:6<581::aid-ajim6>3.0.co;2-u.


Background: Families of farmer pesticide applicators have unusual opportunities for exposure, directly or indirectly, to pesticides. These exposures are not well characterized.

Methods: Subjects were 26,793 licensed private pesticide applicators enrolled in the Agricultural Health Study, a cohort study being conducted in Iowa and North Carolina. Questionnaires were completed by the applicators and their spouses.

Results: Many indirect exposure opportunities exist; for example, 21% of homes are within 50 yards of pesticide mixing areas, 27% of applicators store pesticides in their homes, and 94% of clothing worn for pesticide work is washed in the same machine as other laundry. Direct exposure opportunities also occur; for example, 51% of wives of applicators worked in the fields in the last growing season, 40% of wives have ever mixed or applied pesticides, and over half of children aged 11 or more do farm chores.

Discussion/conclusions: The extent of the opportunities for exposure of family members of farmer pesticide applicators makes studies of their health important.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Agriculture*
  • Family Health*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Exposure*
  • Pesticides*
  • United States


  • Pesticides