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Potential dermal pesticide exposure affected by greenhouse spray application technique

Nuyttens, David, Braekman, Pascal, Windey, Stijn, Sonck, Bart
Pest management science 2009 v.65 no.7 pp. 781-790
pesticide application, pesticide safety and handling, pest control operators, horticulture, greenhouse production, dermal exposure, sprayers, methodology, spatial distribution, Europe
BACKGROUND: Operator safety is still one of the main problems concerning greenhouse spray applications in South European horticulture. The main objective of this study was to compare potential dermal exposure (PDE) between traditional handheld spray application techniques (i.e. a standard spray gun walking forwards, a spray lance walking forwards and backwards) and novel spray application techniques with spray booms (i.e. a trolley, the Fumimatic and the Fumicar).RESULTS: PDE varied from 19.7 mL h⁻¹ for the Fumimatic to 460 mL h⁻¹ for the spray lance walking forwards. Walking backwards reduced PDE by a factor 7. With the trolley, Fumimatic and Fumicar, PDE was respectively 20, 60 and 8 times lower than with the standard spray gun. With the spray lance, PDE was about 2.5 times higher than with the spray gun. Pesticide distribution over the operator's body was non-uniform and correlated strongly with the application technique. With the traditional techniques, exposure to the legs and feet represents 60-80% of the total exposure.CONCLUSIONS: Novel spray application techniques using spray booms greatly decrease operator exposure because the operator is not walking directly into the spray cloud and the sprayed crop, and because of their higher capacity. Depending on the type of spray application, different parts of the body need to be protected most.