June 10, 2021

EPA Updates Tools for Calculating Occupational Exposure to Pesticides

Updates to two “exposure calculator” tools published by EPA reflect the latest available data and are intended to improve the agency’s efficiency in completing risk assessments regarding occupational exposure to pesticides. EPA uses the Occupational Pesticide Handler Exposure Calculator and the Occupational Pesticide Post-Application Exposure Calculator during risk assessments to inform decisions related to the approval of new pesticides and new uses of registered pesticides, and during regular reviews of existing pesticides. The calculators can also be used to evaluate the potential for health effects to workers who might be exposed to pesticides on the job and to assess occupational post-application exposure to pesticides. According to EPA, the calculators provide exposure information for risk assessments based on exposure scenarios, exposure routes, and applicable personal protective equipment.

“Updates to the occupational handler calculator include adding new handler exposure estimates from the Agricultural Handler Exposure Task Force that monitored dermal and inhalation exposure for workers using closed systems to load liquid and solid pesticides,” EPA’s website explains. “The occupational post-application calculator is updated to reflect contemporary agricultural practices and clarify crop-specific activities.”

EPA states that the calculator tools’ updated exposure values “are more reflective of actual exposures to occupational pesticide handlers and post-application scenarios, which reduces uncertainty in decisions and serves as the basis for labeling decisions.”

For more information, visit EPA’s website.