Farmer exposure to organic solvents during the maintenance and repair of farm machinery: A pilot study

Terry L. Bunn, Youcheng Liu, Kiyoung Lee, Medearis Robertson, Lei Yu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Background: The maintenance/repair of farm machinery is a common farming activity. Dermal exposure to organic solvents has not been well documented. A pilot study was conducted to characterize exposure to organic solvents. Methods: A survey questionnaire was administered to 31 Kentucky farmers in 2008. Dermal exposure assessment was conducted in 10 farmers while farmers performed farm machinery maintenance/repair tasks using a solvent sampling patch. Benzene, toluene, xylene, and n-hexane were analyzed. Results: All four organic solvents were identified from the samples with toluene (<0.5-36,000 μg/patch) and xylene (15-5,700 μg/patch) at significantly higher levels. Twenty-six farmers reported the use of personal protective equipment <50% of their time repairing/maintaining farm machinery on the questionnaire; only two farmers wore gloves during the exposure assessment. Conclusions: Farmers routinely use solvent products for farm machinery maintenance/ repair. Dermal exposure to organic solvents is a potential hazard. Further studies to characterize and evaluate exposure in larger samples of farmers are needed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)973-981
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Industrial Medicine
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2009


  • Dermal exposure
  • Farm machinery maintenance and repair
  • Organic solvents
  • Personal protective equipment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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