Cholinesterase is an enzyme produced in the body that helps to regulate the nervous system by removing acetylcholine (a chemical that transmits nerve impulses between nerve cells and your muscles, glands, and organs). A number of pesticides commonly used in the Yakima Valley contain cholinesterase-inhibitors, which exposes the workers handling these products to overexposure.
Overexposure to organophosphates or N-methyl carbamate pesticides may result in physical symptoms that are consistent with over-stimulation of nervous system pathways, including minor flu-like symptoms, blurred vision, increased sweating, nausea, vomiting, muscle twitches, decreased coordination, increased heart rate and blood pressure, and in severe cases, respiratory depression and death.
In January of 2004, regulations became effective which require agricultural employers to provide cholinesterase monitoring to workers who handle cholinesterase-inhibiting pesticides.
SO WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
If you’re an employer whose workers handle cholinesterase-inhibiting pesticides, it means you’ll need to accomplish some things to make sure you’re protecting your employees.
- You are required to train your employees about cholinesterase hazards and monitoring procedures.
- You’ll need to establish consent for monitoring, and then establish exposure monitoring and documentation procedures.
- You then need to arrange with Worker Care for a baseline blood-draw for each employee in your program.
- Additional blood-draws will be required for pesticide handlers who reach 30 or more hours of organophosphate and N-methyl carbamate exposure in a 30-day period.
Worker Care is here to assist you in understanding the cholinesterase monitoring regulations and will provide blood-draw and lab report interpretation for your workers. For you and your worker’s convenience, we also offer on-site or at-clinic baseline and periodic blood-draws.