The NIOSH retrospective pesticide reference database

Avima M. Ruder, Mary Ann Bulter, Wayne T. Sanderson, Tania Carreón, Martha A. Waters, Zachary E. Zivkovich

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle

3 Scopus citations


For the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) case-control study of glioma among non-metropolitan residents, pesticide information was considered critical. Responses to open-ended questions about pesticide exposures had to be grouped for analysis. Our aim was to classify pesticide responses in biologically relevant categories. We built the NIOSH Retrospective Pesticide Reference Database (NIOSH-RPRD) on over 1000 pesticide products and chemicals, particularly those likely to be used in the upper Midwest, using multiple sources. We obtained first and last years of product registration and product pesticide ingredients and their relative weights from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Pesticide Product Information System. We added fields for pesticide class (organophosphate, etc.), carcinogenicity ratings, and evidence regarding endocrine-disrupting activity. Participant data were merged with the database, allowing each product recalled by a respondent to be linked to one or more chemicals, as appropriate. Respondents named 1,347 different pesticides (or pesticide-targeted species) used on the farm, at non-farm jobs, or at home. Database usefulness was assessed by comparing numbers of responses naming actual chemicals to total responses linked to those chemicals. Sixty percent of farm pesticide, 59% of non-farm occupational, and 65% of house and garden responses named products, not chemicals. Among farm pesticide users, 182 (46%) reported using a total of 440 pesticides 1 to 40 years (mean 8.5 years) before those pesticides actually were marketed. The NIOSH-RPRD, now available to other investigators, has been a useful tool for us and other researchers to evaluate, group, and correct pesticide responses.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages14
Specialist publicationJournal of Agricultural Safety and Health
StatePublished - 2009


  • Agricultural workers
  • Agriculture
  • Agrochemicals
  • Pesticides classification
  • Research design
  • Risk assessment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


Dive into the research topics of 'The NIOSH retrospective pesticide reference database'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this