What We Do
The AHETF has completed an evaluation of existing studies that have been conducted world-wide. The data were reviewed by the AHETF and regulatory agencies for quality and applicability to a generic database. Developing accurate and reliable data used to ensure the safety of workers who mix, load, or apply a pesticide is one of the AHETF’s primary objectives. Studies used to compile a comprehensive database of occupational exposure of pesticide handlers must adhere to strict ethical and scientific standards. Following are two examples of such studies conducted by AHETF that have benefited growers and applicators.
Open-Cab Airblast Sprayers: An open-cab airblast study is a very high priority with the AHETF members, grower organizations, and regulatory agencies. Data in PHED show that the head is the major site for exposure when pesticides are applied with open-cab airblast sprayers. One way of reducing this exposure is to require applicators to use closed cabs. This is not a viable option for many growers whose trees are closely spaced because the cabs cause damage to fruit. The AHETF conducted a study in which the applicators wore personal protective equipment (PPE) to reduce exposure to the head. The results indicate that head exposure can be reduced by more than 95% through the use of fairly simple and unobtrusive PPE. The data from this study will have a significant effect on the risk assessments for this application method and will provide an effective mitigation option to registrants.
Large Acreage Aerial Applications: Another high priority for members and regulatory agencies is exposure from aerial applications in which large acreages are sprayed and large amounts of active ingredient are handled. Currently, the exposure is determined by linear extrapolation using data largely generated from low acreage applications. This study will generate data that will be used in future exposure estimates when large amounts of active ingredient are handled.