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Pesticide exposure of workers in apple growing in France

Abstract : Objective Although apple trees are heavily sprayed, few studies have assessed the pesticide exposure of operators and workers in apple orchards. However, these data are crucial for assessing the health impact of such exposures. The aim of this study was to measure pesticide exposure in apple growing according to tasks and body parts. Methods A non-controlled field study was conducted in apple orchards in 4 regions of France during the 2016 and 2017 treatment seasons. Workers’ external contamination and their determinants were assessed over 156 working days corresponding to 30 treatment days, 68 re-entry days and 58 harvesting days. We measured pesticide dermal contamination during each task and made detailed observations of work characteristics throughout the day. Captan and dithianon were used as markers of exposure. Results The median dermal contamination per day was 5.50 mg of captan and 3.33 mg of dithianon for operators, 24.39 mg of captan and 1.84 mg of dithianon for re-entry workers, and 5.82 mg of captan and 0.74 mg of dithianon for harvesters. Thus, workers performing re-entry tasks, especially thinning and anti-hail net opening, presented higher contamination, either equal to or higher than in operators. For these last ones, mixing/loading and equipment cleaning were the most contaminating tasks. Most of the contamination was observed on workers’ hands in all tasks, except for net-opening in which their heads accounted for the most daily contamination. Conclusions This study highlights the importance of taking indirect exposures into account during re-entry work in apple growing.
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https://hal-normandie-univ.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-03428125
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Submitted on : Monday, November 15, 2021 - 8:24:20 AM
Last modification on : Tuesday, January 4, 2022 - 6:18:38 AM

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Mathilde Bureau, Béatrix Béziat, Geoffroy Duporté, Valérie Bouchart, Yannick Lecluse, et al.. Pesticide exposure of workers in apple growing in France. International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health, Springer Verlag, 2021, ⟨10.1007/s00420-021-01810-y⟩. ⟨hal-03428125⟩

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