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Medicina y Seguridad del Trabajo

On-line version ISSN 1989-7790Print version ISSN 0465-546X


VILA, Javier; VAN DER HAAR, Rudolf  and  GARCIA, Ana M.. Assessment of occupational exposure to pesticides in Spain through a job-exposure matrix (MatEmESp, 1996-2005). Med. segur. trab. [online]. 2014, vol.60, n.237, pp.645-659. ISSN 1989-7790.

Background: Occupational pesticide exposure has been associated with different health problems. However, the available information on the characteristics of the exposure for the affected workers is sparse and scattered. Objectives: This study aimed at estimating the level and prevalence of occupational pesticide exposure in Spain for the period 1996-2005, as part of the project to develop a general Spanish job-exposure matrix, MatEmESp. Methods: Data from other matrices, risk assessments in Spanish companies and a literature review were used to identify exposed occupations and reference chemical agents as well as to establish the exposure estimates. Results: Of the 482 occupations in the Spanish job coding system, 45 were identified as exposed. For fungicides and herbicides, 39 occupations showed a low level of exposure (≤5 % OEL) whereas 6 were found to have a medium level (6-25 % OEL). For insecticides, low exposure was found in 19 occupations while 26 showed a medium level. Conclusion: This is the first systematic collection of data on occupational exposure to pesticides in Spain. The exposure estimates obtained, available at the MatEmESp web page (, can be useful for research and health and safety management programs in Spain.

Keywords : Job-exposure matrix; occupational exposure; pesticides; workers.

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