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Health hazard evaluation report: evaluation of occupational glyphosate exposures among employees applying herbicides at a national park
  • Published Date:

    August 2017

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  • Description:
    "The Health Hazard Evaluation Program received a request from a safety manager at a national park. The manager was concerned about employee exposures to the herbicide glyphosate when they mixed and applied it to control unwanted plants in the park. Glyphosate is the most used herbicide at the park. Employees used glyphosate and, on occasion, five other herbicides, based on the season and target plant species. During our evaluation, we spoke with managers and employees and observed workplace conditions, work processes, and practices. We evaluated employee exposures when they mixed and applied herbicides. We measured heat stress and estimated metabolic workloads for various work sites and job tasks. On the basis of our observations and employee interviews, we concluded that skin contact was the main route of employee exposure to herbicides; however, inhalation of spray mists is also a potential route. We saw evidence of herbicide contamination on employees' boots, clothing, and in work areas. We observed inconsistent glove use, improper chemical handling practices, and hand washing methods that could create opportunities for herbicide exposure. Environmental conditions approached limits for heat stress, and some employees reported symptoms consistent with early heat illness. We observed employees and supervisors complying with the written heat stress management policy. We recommended improvements in training and developing written site-specific policies and procedures for herbicide handling. We also recommended re-evaluating glove selection, use, decontamination, and change-out policies." - NIOSHTIC-2 Recommended citation for this report: NIOSH [2017]. Evaluation of occupational glyphosate exposures among employees applying herbicides at a national park. By Feldmann KD, Musolin K. Cincinnati, OH: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Health Hazard Evaluation Report 2016-0157-3286, NIOSHTIC no. 20050229
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