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Longitudinal Variation of Pesticide Use Patterns

Wu, Xiangmei1; Bennett, Deborah1; Ritz, Beate2; Cassady, Diana1; Lee, Kiyoung3; Hertz-Picciotto, Irva1

doi: 10.1097/01.ede.0000391985.18119.7e
Abstracts: ISEE 22nd Annual Conference, Seoul, Korea, 28 August–1 September 2010: Use of Technology in the SUPERB Study (Study of Use of Products and Exposure-Related Behaviors)

1University of California, Davis, CA; 2University of California, Los Angeles, CA; and 3Seoul National University, Seoul, Republic of Korea.

Abstracts published in Epidemiology have been reviewed by the societies at whose meetings the abstracts have been accepted for presentation. These abstracts have not undergone review by the Editorial Board of Epidemiology.


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Pesticide use patterns were examined longitudinally using an internet survey to determine consistency in reporting and to compare results to a one-time phone interview.

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An initial 182 English-speaking households with young children in northern California participated every 3 months during an 18-month period, with participants completing a varied number of surveys. Questions such as use frequency, pests treated, and area over which pesticide was applied were asked for outdoor sprays, indoor sprays, and indoor foggers, as well as questions on professional applications and pet treatments.

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Participants from a total of 74.3% of the households reported pesticide applications at some point during the study period, similar to what we observed in a telephone survey (77%). The percentage of the study population using outdoor spray was higher in the summer/fall than the winter/spring, while for indoor sprays, it was the opposite. The percentage of the population reporting use of outdoor spray significantly declined over time, with season controlled. The average use frequency ranged between 1 and 5 times per 3-month period for different types of pesticide applications. Kruskal-Wallis test detected no significant variation of use frequencies by season or over time among those who used the product. Use frequency from each household at each time point was classified into low, medium, or high; similarly, the average of each household over the longitudinal study was determined. For outdoor sprays and applications on pets, the agreement for each time point with the overall average was over 80%. However, for indoor sprays, agreement was only 65%, suggesting considerable variation over time. The size of the application area varied by application as well.

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Results of this study suggest a fair amount of variability in the responses from individual households over an 18-month period, suggesting that longitudinal surveys are required to catch the variability of pesticide usage patterns.

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.