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Biological monitoring for acetamiprid: Collaborative working with customers

biological monitoring.jpgseasonal worker 2

The Challenge

A Forestry England nursery needed to assess whether their existing exposure controls for acetamiprid were effective in protecting employees from risk of harm.

Acetamiprid is a pyridyl-methylamine neonicotinoid insecticide, registered for various applications and which has been evaluated in the context of both the Biocidal Products Regulation (BPR) (EU) 528/2012 (ECHA, 2017) and the Plant Protection Product (PPP) Regulation (EC) 1107/2009 (EFSA, 2012). It acts on insects by contact and ingestion, affecting the central nervous system. In humans, the toxicity can cause nausea, vomiting, respiratory failure, tachycardia, hypotension, muscle weakness and convulsions.

The Solution

Biological monitoring is a well-established tool to help quantify exposure to potentially harmful substances.
Workers at the nursery gave informed consent to provide urine samples and HSE quantified pre- and post-shift levels of acetamiprid over consecutive days.

The Outcome

Results from one workplace indicated elevated exposure, and although workers were provided with comprehensive protective equipment, the pattern of exposure was characteristic of absorption through the skin.
Therefore, the employer provided fresh personal protective equipment and reviewed work practices.

Subsequent sampling showed that exposure was considerably lower in two out of three individuals, although the third operator still had elevated exposure. Interestingly, this operator was responsible for filling and emptying the automated sprayer which highlighted a further area for attention.

Biological monitoring helped to identify contaminated PPE as a source of exposure of workers to the pesticide. It informed a new strategy for storing and replacing kit at the plant nursery.

View more examples of our work in this area.

This case study was featured on page 57 of the 2021 Annual Science Review.

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