Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment

Pesticides

The Pesticide Epidemiology Section (PES) and the Pesticide and Food Toxicology Section (PFTS) of the Pesticide and Environmental Toxicology Branch (PETB) manage OEHHA’s pesticide-related functions.

The Pesticide and Food Toxicology Section carries out risk assessment and hazard evaluation activities related to pesticides and other chemical contaminants in food and consumer products.  Staff performs statutorily mandated peer reviews of pesticide Risk Characterization Documents (RCDs) prepared by the Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) and evaluate pesticide toxicity data for use in DPR’s regulatory decisions.  The RCDs assess the risk of human exposure to pesticides in raw agricultural commodities, processed foods, drinking water and environmental media. In addition, staff prepares documents on the toxicity of pesticides used by the invasive species program of the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA).

The activities of the Pesticide Epidemiology Section involve the following legislatively mandated programs: tracking and maintaining records of pesticide illnesses, assistance to local health officers in the event of pesticide poisonings, and analysis and evaluation of cholinesterase activity in blood samples of pesticide handlers who participate in California’s Medical Supervision program.  The Pesticide Epidemiology Section also has joint and mutual responsibility with DPR to develop regulations to protect workers who use or handle pesticides.  The Section also provides education on the recognition, management, and reporting of pesticide poisoning and the California medical supervision program, and is responsible for preparation of the Guidelines for Physicians who Supervise Workers Exposed to Cholinesterase-Inhibiting Pesticides.  Risk communication activities carried out by the section include education for the public and for county health departments on pesticide-related health issues.

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