APR 23, 2023 8:23 AM PDT

Scientists Enhance Pesticide Exposure Monitoring Methods

WRITTEN BY: Kerry Charron

Scientists at The University of Toledo created a more reliable strategy to monitor pesticide exposure and protect the health and safety of agricultural workers. The study published in the journal Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry described how this method could detect 79 pesticide residues in human blood plasma at “ultra-trace” levels (parts per trillion). The new testing method uses bio solid-phase microextraction with liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry.

Pesticides are often used in farming to prevent or reduce crop losses and improve the quality of fruits and vegetables. Human exposure during the preparation or application of pesticides can cause neurological disorders, poisoning, cancer, reproductive disruptions, respiratory problems, and chronic kidney diseases. 

The findings of this study are relevant to the cannabis industry because the pesticides included in the study are the most commonly used pesticides for cannabis cultivation. Cannabis legalization in several states has resulted in new farmers mishandling chemicals, but more experienced cannabis farmers are exploring safer pesticide methods.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates pesticide use according to its Occupational Pesticide Safety and Health guidelines. According to the EPA, pesticide take-home exposure could occur when farm workers go home with pesticide residues on their skin, clothing, hats, boots, and other items, potentially exposing children, and relatives to pesticide residues. This testing strategy will promote enhanced safety for agricultural workers and their families. Study author Nipunika Godage explained, “Assessing pesticide exposure quickly and thoroughly is crucial for the health and safety of workers and their families, to correct malpractices in pesticide storage and application, and to prevent further exposure.” This method allows for more efficient sample throughput and method tunability which is critical for promoting worker safety. This method also demonstrated increased sensitivity, precision and accuracy compared to the commonly used approach called QuEChERS (Quick, Easy, Cheap, Effective, Rugged and Safe) but can be labor intensive. 

Sources: Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry, Environmental Protection Agency. Eureka News Alert  


About the Author
Bachelor's (BA/BS/Other)
Kerry Charron writes about medical cannabis research. She has experience working in a Florida cultivation center and has participated in advocacy efforts for medical cannabis.
You May Also Like
Loading Comments...