• chlorpyrifos;
  • inhalation exposure;
  • dermal exposure;
  • knapsack sprayer



To date, no research has been conducted to establish exposure levels for occupational pesticide operators under typical use scenarios in China. Through surrogate skin techniques (the whole-body method), the authors monitored dermal and inhalation exposure of pesticide applicators in China. In addition, the exposure of pesticide mixers was analysed.


The total dermal exposure of inexperienced and experienced applicators was respectively 4037 and 536 mg kg−1 of active ingredient (AI) handled for application to maize that was <80 cm in height. The exposure level was highest on hands; the closer to the hands, the lower arms and the upper legs, the higher the exposure. The unit exposure of mixers differed according to the formulation; exposure to emulsifiable concentrate (EC) and oil-in-water emulsion (EW) was greater than exposure to wettable powder (WP) or wettable dispersible granules (WG). The unit exposure of mixers via inhalation was significantly greater than that of applicators when chlorpyrifos (48% EC) was used (P < 0.0001).


The main objectives of this study were to provide an indication of the realistic exposure risk of mixers and applicators, and to contribute useful information for risk mitigation and management and epidemiological studies in China. © 2013 Society of Chemical Industry