UW News

February 5, 2003

Conference on pesticide issues will be held Feb. 26 in Yakima

A conference on agricultural safety and health that emphasizes pesticide issues will be held Wednesday, Feb. 26, at the DoubleTree Hotel in Yakima, Wash.

The sponsors are Washington State University, the University of Washington Department of Environmental Health and the Pacific Northwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center, the UW School of Public Health and Community Medicine, and the Northwest Center for Occupational Safety and Health.

This is the sixth Pacific Northwest Pesticide Issues Conference, but the first to involve active collaboration between the University of Washington and Washington State University.

The conference has three main areas of focus:

– The first half-day will focus on the issue of cholinesterase monitoring for exposure to organophosphate and carbamate insecticides. The Washington State Supreme Court has ruled that Washington must evaluate its position on cholinesterase monitoring, and the Department of Labor and Industries has initiated rule-making on mandatory monitoring for agricultural employees. This in-depth session will examine the policy of cholinesterase monitoring, the science around monitoring and the potential impact to agriculture and the affected employees.

– The second focus examines issues related to pesticide drift and agricultural exposures. This includes exposure to employees or people who live near areas of pesticide applications. Washington Department of Agriculture staff will share their compliance findings and concerns. A UW researcher will discuss his recent findings. New application technology will also be discussed.

– The third focus is on pesticide exposure that occurs after a pesticide application. The conference will present current data on illness related to post -application exposures and the challenges for training the workforce that is exposed. A panel will present information on post-application risk assessment for both from the research and the EPA?s label-review section. Both EPA headquarters and the Washington Department of Agriculture will be represented in discussions on the status of the Worker Protection Standard and some lessons learned.

The intended audience for this conference includes: members of the medical community, university researchers, grower associations, growers, foresters, agrichemical dealers and industry, crop consultants, state and federal regulators, extension educators, and other interested parties. The conference sponsors expect to meet the education and information needs of people involved in farming, forestry, greenhouse, and nursery health and safety, as well as the medical community, and to facilitate networking and information exchange among participants.

There is a fee of $120. For more information, visit the conference Web site at:

http://depts.washington.edu/pnash/ceconference/index.html or call (509) 335-2830.