238-5 Potential Health Effects Related to Pesticide Use On Athletic Fields.

See more from this Division: C05 Turfgrass Science
See more from this Session: Symposium--Pesticide Exposure On Community Sports Fields

Tuesday, November 5, 2013: 9:45 AM
Marriott Tampa Waterside, Grand Ballroom A

Robyn Gilden, School of Nursing, University of Maryland, Baltimore, MD
Human populations are exposed to pesticides at home, work, and in the community through consumption of food and water, ambient air, and contact with soils or surfaces.   Also included in this is take home exposures from workers’ clothing. These exposures are leading to increased body burdens of potentially harmful chemicals. The human health effects associated with the detected levels of pesticides are the subject of much research. 

Animal and human data demonstrate that pesticide exposures have acute and chronic health effects in many systems, including neurologic and neurodevelopmental, reproductive and endocrine, and immune.   They also may play a role in cancer.  Most of the toxicological data related to health effects from exposure, however, are based on studies focusing on one chemical via one route.  There has been little exploration taking into consideration the many possible combinations of chemicals, routes of exposures, and exposed individuals that actually occur in real life, such as those exposures that may occur on athletic fields. 

Children, who are typically the prime users of athletic fields, are uniquely vulnerable to exposures to pesticides, particularly herbicides and insecticides. This is due to many of their organs and systems continue to mature during early childhood, their ability to detoxify chemicals develops over time, they eat and breathe more per body weight than adults, and they typically do not have adequate hygiene practices such as washing their hands after being outside or before eating.

This presentation will review a first-of-a-kind study that provides an overview of decision-making and field maintenance practices regarding athletic fields used by children and adults.  This cross-sectional, descriptive study assessed the maintenance practices at 101 athletic fields (N=101) in the six county/city area of central Maryland.  Sixty-six fields (65.3%) of 101 reported using some form of pesticides, mainly herbicides (57.4%).  Interestingly, the managers of urban and suburban fields were less likely to use pesticides than managers of rural fields.  Potential health risks associated with the commonly applied herbicides and insecticides will be reviewed.  

As environmental health scientists move towards better exposure modeling that takes into account multiple sources of exposures, knowledge of pesticide exposures from such sources as playing fields will be critical.  Worker and user protection, such as alternative cultural practices as an initial tactic and a protective time to reentry following pesticide application could be implemented.  Additionally, there is great need for public health education to appropriately target audiences regarding field maintenance decisions, including land care managers, parents, school officials, neighbors surrounding athletic fields, and public health practitioners.  Local, state, and national policies must be considered regarding the use of potentially harmful chemicals where children play.  Changes in pesticide use policies will improve the health of landscape managers and their employees, workers, children and other sports participants, and observers, thereby reducing health risks and their associated health care costs, missed work, and school days.

See more from this Division: C05 Turfgrass Science
See more from this Session: Symposium--Pesticide Exposure On Community Sports Fields

<< Previous Abstract | Next Abstract