Personal air sampling and risks of inhalation exposure during atrazine application in honduras

Matthew J. Lozier, Jose Francisco Lopez Montoya, Alexis Del Rosario, Esperanza Pintor Martínez, Laurence Fuortes, Thomas M. Cook, Wayne T. Sanderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Purpose To assess occupational inhalation exposure to the herbicide atrazine during pesticide application in a developing country. Methods Personal air samples were collected during atrazine application using a personal sampling pump equipped with an OSHA Versatile Sampler (OVS-2) sorbent tube. Samples were collected from 24 pesticide applicators in Honduras. Application was observed during sampling, and a survey was completed in the home. Results Fourteen of the 24 participants used pump backpack sprayers to apply atrazine and 10 used tractor/ boom systems. Despite applying about 15 times as much atrazine, the tractor/boom participants (11.5 μg/m3) had nly slightly higher (not statistically significant) timeweighted averages (TWA) than participants using backpack sprayers (9.6 μg/m3). Within the backpack sprayer group, those that used a cone spray nozzle (11.54 μg/m3) had nearly double the TWA than applicators using a flat spray nozzle (5.98 μg/m3; P = 0.04). In the tractor/boom group, the participants that rode on the boom or the back of the tractor monitoring nozzles (15.0 μg/m3) had almost double the average TWA than tractor drivers (8.0 μg/m3; P = 0.097). Conclusions Since tractor/boom pesticide application decreases the number of man-hours required to applypesticides, and does not increase inhalation exposure significantly, it decreases the overall population occupational exposure. Monitoring nozzles on booms from a distance rather than on the back of a tractor or boom may decrease or eliminate inhalation exposure. Use of flat spray nozzles for herbicide application among pump backpack sprayers may reduce their inhalation exposure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)479-488
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments We are thankful to the Honduran Secretary of Agriculture and Livestock (Secretaria de Agricultura y Ganaderia— SAG) regional office in Juticalpa, Olancho, especially, the regional director, Ing. Gustavo Gomez Amador. We also extend our sincerest gratitude to SAG Ing. Jose Francisco Lopez Montoya. Without his assistance, this study would not have been possible. We are thankful to Dr. Jackeline Alger of the Antonio Vidal Institute of Infectious Diseases and Parasitology in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, for her assistance in navigating the research infrastructure in Honduras, Dr. Denis Padgett Moncada and the other members of the Ethics Committee at the Honduran National University, and Leda Lozier for her work in the field and the laboratory. We also thank Bureau Veritas North America for their work in sample analysis. This research was supported by a pilot project research training grant from the Environmental Health Sciences Research Center at the University of Iowa. The Heartland Center, an Education and Research Center, is supported by Training Grant No. T42OH008491 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. The contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.


  • Atrazine
  • Central America
  • Herbicide
  • Honduras
  • Inhalation exposure
  • Pesticide exposure
  • Pesticide exposure assessment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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