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RR1103 - The Prospective Investigation of Pesticide Applicators’ Health (PIPAH) Study: background, rationale and design

There are concerns that some pesticides may have levels of human toxicity that cause chronic health problems in workers who apply them, for instance cancers and neurological conditions. However, the evidence base linking worker exposure to pesticides and the development of adverse health outcomes is inconclusive. It is important to improve this evidence base so that any risks to worker health are understood and can be effectively controlled.

The Prospective Investigation of Pesticide Applicators’ Health (PIPAH) Study is a long-term volunteer study established to develop a more complete understanding of how pesticide exposure potentially affects the health of workers. The aims of the PIPAH Study are to investigate possible associations between occupational exposure to pesticides and changes in health status over time. This will include investigating self-reported health conditions, all -cause mortality and cancer incidence.

This report sets out the background to the PIPAH Study and its rationale and design. The study is designed specifically to collect comprehensive data around worker exposure levels, health and medical history, employment history, and potential confounding factors such as smoking and diet. It is a prospective cohort study: volunteers are recruited into the study, and factors that may be relevant to the development of disease are then measured over a number of years. The volunteers are professional and licensed GB pesticide users. Details of the baseline cohort recruited in 2013 to September 2014 are given in report RR1119.

This report and the work it describes were funded by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). Its contents, including any opinions and/or conclusions expressed, are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect HSE or DEFRA policy.

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Updated 2018-06-25