Emergency responders are among the first to arrive at a pesticide-related release event. Magnitude, severity, and risk factor information on acute pesticide poisoning among those workers is needed. Survey data collected from the SENSOR-Pesticides, CDPR and HSEES programs between 1993 and 2002 from 21 states were reviewed. Acute occupational pesticide-related illness incidence rates for each category of emergency responder were calculated, as were incidence rate ratios (IRR) among emergency responders compared to all other workers employed in non-agricultural industries. A total of 291 cases were identified. Firefighters accounted for 111 cases (38%), law enforcement officers for 104 cases (36%), emergency medical technicians for 34 cases (12%), and 42 cases (14%) were unspecified emergency responders. Among the 200 cases with information on activity responsible for exposure, most were exposed while performing activities related to a pesticide release event (84%) and not involving patient care, while the remainder involved exposure to pesticide-contaminated patients. A majority of cases were exposed to insecticides (51%). Most had low severity illnesses (90%). The incidence rate was highest for firefighters (39.1/million) and law enforcement officers (26.6/million). The IRRs were also elevated for these professions (firefighters, IRR = 2.67; law enforcement officers, IRR = 1.69). The findings suggest the need for greater efforts to prevent acute occupational pesticide-related illness among emergency responders.
Pesticides; Agricultural-chemicals; Pesticides-and-agricultural-chemicals; Emergency-response; Emergency-responders; Poisons; Police-officers; Fire-fighters; Workers; Worker-health; Risk-factors; Risk-analysis; Occupational-exposure; Occupational-health; Occupational-hazards; Health-hazards; Law-enforcement; Law-enforcement-workers