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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle

Methods for the Identification of Outliers and Their Influence on Exposure Assessment in Agricultural Pesticide Applicators: A Proposed Approach and Validation Using Biological Monitoring

Department of Health Sciences, University of Milan and International Centre for Rural Health of the Saints Paolo and Carlo Hospital, 20142 Milan, Italy
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Toxics 2019, 7(3), 37; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxics7030037
Received: 20 June 2019 / Revised: 8 July 2019 / Accepted: 9 July 2019 / Published: 12 July 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Toxicology and Public Health)
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Abstract

The “patch” approach for skin exposure assessment can easily be combined with biological monitoring in real-life pesticide studies. Nevertheless, this approach is sensitive to outliers, with values markedly deviating from other members of the sample, which can result in a gross overestimation of exposure. This study aimed at developing methods for outlier identification and validating them while using biological monitoring. Twenty-seven workers applying mancozeb in Italian vineyards participated in this study. Their skin exposure was estimated while using the patch methodology, while ethylene-thiourea (ETU) was measured in the 24-h post-exposure urine as a biomarker of exposure. The outliers were detected using methods that were based on the multiplication of the median, the median absolute deviation, and boxplots. The detection rate varied between 2.3% and 17.3%. The estimated median skin exposure of 3.2 μg was reduced to 1.2 μg when the modified Z score was used. The highest reduction in the skin exposure was above 54 μg. The use of the modified Z score for outlier detection resulted in an increase in the correlation coefficient between the skin exposure and the urine ETU levels from 0.46 to 0.71, which suggested the validity of the approach. Future studies should standardize and improve the methods for pesticide exposure and risk assessment. View Full-Text
Keywords: pesticides; environmental monitoring; biological monitoring; mancozeb; ethylene thiourea; statistical method pesticides; environmental monitoring; biological monitoring; mancozeb; ethylene thiourea; statistical method
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Mandić-Rajčević, S.; Colosio, C. Methods for the Identification of Outliers and Their Influence on Exposure Assessment in Agricultural Pesticide Applicators: A Proposed Approach and Validation Using Biological Monitoring. Toxics 2019, 7, 37.

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