Safer Alternatives to Pesticides Explored

A May 28 conference co-sponsored by the California Department of Public Health looked at sustainable farming and ecologically friendly pest control, along with health impacts of pesticide use.

Agricultural pesticides can sicken farm workers, affect exposed children's development, and linger on harvested foods. Speakers at "Safer Alternatives to Pest Control in Agriculture," an all-day conference held yesterday at the University of California, Davis campus, discussed public health impacts of pesticide use, options for safer alternatives, and worker hazards associated with alternatives.

The Occupational Health Branch of the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) organized the conference, and CDPH co-sponsored it with the Western Center for Agricultural Health and Safety at UC Davis and the University of California, Berkeley's Center for Occupational and Environmental Health. Speakers included Rupali Das, MD, MPH, of CDPH's Occupational Health Branch; Kim Harley, Ph.D., of UC Berkeley's Center for the Health Assessment of Mothers and Children of Salinas; Martha Harnly, MPH, of CDPH's Environmental Health Investigations Branch; and Margaret Reeves, Ph.D., of Pesticide Action Network North America; Robert I. Krieger, Ph.D., a Cooperative Extension Toxicologist at UC Riverside; and Clifford P. Ohmart, Ph.D., of the Lodi Winegroup Commission.

A CDPH study identified 1,474 cases of acute occupational pesticide illness among workers in California from 1998 through 2006, with a fairly steady decline in cases throughout the period. The study's authors concluded this number probably undercounted actual illnesses, however. The most common reported health effects among the 1,474 workers were headache, eye pain/irritation, nausea, nose or throat irritation, and dizziness. Nearly one-third of the workers lost eight or more work hours because of their illness, the study found. Counties in California's Central Valley (Fresno, Kern, San Joaquin, and Tulare) and Monterey County reported the highest number of cases, more than 80 cases per county, in the study. Sixty-one percent of the workers became ill while performing routine farming work, such as weeding or handling crops -- not while applying pesticides.

Download Center

  • Safety Metrics Guide

    Is your company leveraging its safety data and analytics to maintain a safe workplace? With so much data available, where do you start? This downloadable guide will give you insight on helpful key performance indicators (KPIs) you should track for your safety program.

  • Job Hazard Analysis Guide

    This guide includes details on how to conduct a thorough Job Hazard Analysis, and it's based directly on an OSHA publication for conducting JHAs. Learn how to identify potential hazards associated with each task of a job and set controls to mitigate hazard risks.

  • A Guide to Practicing “New Safety”

    Learn from safety professionals from around the world as they share their perspectives on various “new views” of safety, including Safety Differently, Safety-II, No Safety, Human and Organizational Performance (HOP), Resilience Engineering, and more in this helpful guide.

  • Lone Worker Safety Guide

    As organizations digitalize and remote operations become more commonplace, the number of lone workers is on the rise. These employees are at increased risk for unaddressed workplace accidents or emergencies. This guide was created to help employers better understand common lone worker risks and solutions for lone worker risk mitigation and incident prevention.

  • EHS Software Buyer's Guide

    Learn the keys to staying organized, staying sharp, and staying one step ahead on all things safety. This buyer’s guide is designed for you to use in your search for the safety management solution that best suits your company’s needs.

  • Vector Solutions

Featured Whitepaper

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - May 2022

    May 2022

    Featuring:

    • WEARABLE TECHNOLOGY
      How Wearable Technology is Transforming Safety and the Industrial Workplace
    • TRAINING: CONFINED SPACES
      Five Tips to Improve Safety in Confined Spaces
    • INDUSTRIAL HYGIENE
      Monitor for Asbestos to Help Save Lives
    • PPE: FALL PROTECTION
      Fall Protection Can Be Surprising
    View This Issue