Synthetic pyrethroids such as cypermethrin, deltamethrin and permethrin, which are usually used in pest control operations, are metabolized to 3-phenoxybenzoic acid (3-PBA) and excreted in urine. Though 3-PBA can be used to assess exposure to pyrethroids, there are few reports describing urinary 3-PBA levels in Japan. This study aimed to investigate the seasonal variation of the exposure levels of pyrethroids and the concentration of urinary 3-PBA among pest control operators (PCOs) in Japan. The study subjects were 78 and 66 PCOs who underwent a health examination in December 2004 and in August 2005, respectively. 3-PBA was determined using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. The geometric mean concentration of urinary 3-PBA in winter (3.9 ∝g/g creatinine) was significantly lower than in summer (12.2 ∝g/g creatinine) ( p<0.05). Geometric mean concentrations of urinary 3-PBA in the spraying workers and the not-spraying workers within 2 d before the survey were 5.4 ∝g/g creatinine and 0.9 ∝g/g creatinine for winter with a significant difference between the groups ( plt;0.05), and 12.3 ∝g/g creatinine and 8.7 ∝g/g creatinine for summer (p>0.05), respectively. A significant association of 3-PBA levels and pyrethroid spraying was thus observed only in winter. In conclusion, the results of the present study show that the exposure level of pyrethroids among PCOs in Japan assessed by monitoring urinary 3-PBA was higher than that reported in the UK but comparable to that in Germany. Further research should be accumulated to establish an occupational reference value in Japan.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes