Chemical Toxicity and Agricultural Producers

Protecting our Providers

Farmers across the world spend thousands of hours each year preparing for, planting,
maintaining, harvesting, and selling crops to sustain our planet’s inhabitants. To obtain the best
yield and prevent harm from pests, farmers use synthetic pesticides on their crops.
As of 2020, it is estimated that the global manufacture of pesticides is over 3.5 million tons per
year. Of these 3.5 million tons, only 0.1% reaches the desired pests which leaves 99.9% of the
chemicals to loiter elsewhere. Farmers and chemical manufacturers are routinely exposed to
these pesticides. 2 Each exposure can increase an employee’s chances of developing pesticide
toxicity.

Types of Toxicity

There are three different types of toxicity farmers can contract based on their level and length
of exposure to pesticides – acute, subchronic, and chronic. The shortest-term exposure is actual
toxicity. It stems from a single exposure event and all effects typically appear within twenty-
four hours. 1 Subchronic toxicity is the second level and occurs after multiple events of exposure
over the span of several months. 1 Health effects from this level of exposure can linger for over a
year but less than a person’s lifetime. Both acute and subchronic poisoning can have negative
health effects like headaches, numbness, dizziness, skin irritation, muscle weakness, nausea,
etc. The worst level of toxicity is chronic. Chronic toxicity arises after a person is exposed
repeatedly to a pesticide over the course of several months or years. Chronic toxicity can have
permanent, lifetime, health effects such as cancer, asthma, coma, convulsions, and death. 1

Types of Exposure

There are three ways pesticides can enter the body – skin contact, ingestion via the mouth, and
inhalation into the lungs. Famers and pesticide manufacturers are more often prone to absorb
chemicals through their skin when handling pesticides due to splashes, spills, and leaks. 1
Employees spraying chemicals by hand, tractor, plane, etc. increase their chances of chemical
inhalation. Pesticides are rapidly absorbed through inhalation and can cause permanent
internal damage to the body. 1

Staying Safe

While some employees wear masks, respirators, and protective eyewear, this is not common
for all industries. Additionally, many people are unaware that chemical dangers still linger even
after the initial application of pesticides. Farm workers who re-enter sprayed fields typically
wear little to no PPE since the chemicals are not actively being sprayed. Airborne particles can
still be present – especially if neighboring fields are also spraying at similar times. 1
To facilitate health monitoring, medical intervention, and safety compliance, employers should
consider trying Airotect’s Passive Diffusive Sampler Badges. Our product contains three sample
tubes per badge as well as an easy-to-use reporting software!

Each XploSafe sampler can generate up to three exposed sorbent samples and a blank (unexposed) which generates
statistically significant analytical data points for a highly specific exposure record. This capability
limits systematic, handler, and potential analytical error in sampling, analysis, and decision-
making. Because of these key factors, accurate exposure assessments are enabled. A Data
Repository Platform (DRP) that can facilitate Individual Longitudinal Exposure Record (ILER)
reporting capabilities for volatile, semi-volatile, and reactive compounds, is accessible through
our website at www.app.airotect.com.

Product Inquiries and Purchases

To purchase the XCel+ Passive Dosimeter Badge for Diffusive Air Monitoring or to gather
additional information, visit www.airotect.com or call us at (405) 344-5720 or email us at
info@airotect.com! Our products are proudly made in the USA

  1. Damalas, C. A., & Koutroubas, S. D. (2016, January 8). Farmers’ exposure to pesticides: Toxicity
    types and ways of prevention. PubMed Central
    (PMC). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5606636/
  2. Exposure to pesticides, herbicides, & insecticides: Human health effects. (2023, September 22).
    The Institute for Functional Medicine. https://www.ifm.org/news-insights/exposure-pesticides-
    herbicides-insecticides-human-health-effects/
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