This study deals with pesticide exposure profile in some European countries with a specific focus on ethylenebisdithiocarbamates (EBDC). In all, 55 Bulgarian greenhouse workers, 51 Finnish potato farmers, 48 Italian vineyard workers, 42 Dutch floriculture farmers, and 52 Bulgarian zineb producers entered the study. Each group was matched with a group of not occupationally exposed subjects. Exposure data were gained through self-administered questionnaires and measuring ethylenethiourea (ETU) in two spot urine samples collected, respectively, before the beginning of seasonal exposure (T0), and after 30 days, at the end of the exposure period (T30). Controls underwent a similar protocol. Study agriculture workers were involved in mixing and loading pesticides, application of pesticide mixture with mechanical or manual equipments, re-entry activities, and cleaning equipments. Chemical workers were involved in synthesis, quality controls, and packing activities. The number of pesticides to whom these subjects were exposed varied from one (zineb production) to eight (potato farmers). The use of personal protective devices was variegate and regarded both aerial and dermal penetration routes. EBDC exposure, assessed by T30 urinary ETU, was found to follow the order: greenhouse workers, zineb producers, vineyard workers, potato farmers, floriculture farmers with median levels of 49.6, 23.0, 11.8, 7.5, and 0.9 μg/g creatinine; the last group having ETU at the same level of controls (∼0.5 μg/g creatinine). Among agriculture workers, pesticide application, especially using manual equipment, seems to be the major determinant in explaining internal dose. Although the analysis of self-administered questionnaires evidenced difficulties especially related to lack and/or poor quality of reported data, biological monitoring confirms to be a powerful tool in assessing pesticide exposure.
- Biological monitoring
- Exposure assessment
- Urinary ethylenethiourea
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis