Screening for Pesticide Exposure: A Case Study


  • Robi Quackenbush CNM, MSN,

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    • Robi Quackenbush, CNM, MSN, practices at Family Health Care Network, a community health center in Porterville, CA.

  • Barbara Hackley CNM, MS,

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    • Barbara Hackley, CNM, MS, has been in midwifery practice and education for over 20 years. Currently, she is on faculty at Yale University School of Nursing and practices at the Montefiore South Bronx Health Center for Children and Families.

  • Jane Dixon PhD

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    • Jane Dixon, PhD, is a professor in the Doctoral Program at Yale University School of Nursing. Her research interests include environmental health promotion and engagement in environmental health.

1740 W. Lloyd Avenue, Porterville, CA 93257. E-mail:


Pesticide use is ubiquitous in the United States in both agricultural and urban environments. Although pesticide exposure can occur anywhere, migrant and seasonal farmworkers in medically underserved communities are at particular risk. Health care providers often feel ill-equipped to recognize or manage pesticide exposure or pesticide-related illness. In 2002, the National Environmental Education Foundation published a series of reports that describe national goals for improving the recognition, management, and prevention of pesticide-related health conditions. This article illustrates how to diagnose and manage pesticide exposures by analyzing a pesticide exposure case using a framework suggested by the National Environmental Education Foundation. Basic screening techniques and available resources for use in the primary care setting are presented.