Occupational exposure to pesticides: development of a job-exposure matrix for use in population-based studies (PESTIPOP)

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Abstract

Occupational exposure to pesticides concerns a wide population of workers not only in agriculture. The reliability of self-reported information on pesticide use is questionable because of the diversity of use. The PESTIPOP job-exposure matrix has been designed to assess pesticide occupational exposure in the general population. The matrix is composed of two axes: the first axis corresponding to jobs (combinations of occupations and industries) and the second one to pesticide exposure. The estimated exposure metric is the probability of exposure coupled with a reliability assessment (low, medium or high). These metrics were defined by combining different sources: (1) an a priori expert assessment (Agricultural industry experts); (2) data from a multicenter case-control study on brain tumors in the general population (occupational history, specific questionnaires); and (3) an a posteriori expert assessment based on the data of a case-control study. So far, 2559 jobs have been identified and 209 (8%) were found to be exposed to pesticides. Jobs with agricultural exposure had a higher exposure probability than jobs with non-agricultural exposure (wood preservation, park maintenance, pest control). Indirect exposure was more frequent than direct exposure. The PESTIPOP matrix will be transcoded into international classifications for use in epidemiological studies.

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