Development of a task-exposure matrix (TEM) for pesticide Use (TEMPEST)

F. D. Dick, S. E. Semple, M. Van Tongeren, B. G. Miller, P. Ritchie, D. Sherriff, J. W. Cherrie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


INTRODUCTION: Pesticides have been associated with increased risks for a range of conditions including Parkinson's disease, but identifying the agents responsible has proven challenging. Improved pesticide exposure estimates would increase the power of epidemiological studies to detect such an association if one exists. METHODS: Categories of pesticide use were identified from the tasks reported in a previous community-based case-control study in Scotland. Typical pesticides used in each task in each decade were identified from published scientific and grey literature and from expert interviews, with the number of potential agents collapsed into 10 groups of pesticides. A pesticide usage database was then created, using the task list and the typical pesticide groups employed in those tasks across seven decades spanning the period 1945-2005. Information about the method of application and concentration of pesticides used in these tasks was then incorporated into the database. RESULTS: A list was generated of 81 tasks involving pesticide exposure in Scotland covering seven decades producing a total of 846 task per pesticide per decade combinations. A Task-Exposure Matrix for PESTicides (TEMPEST) was produced by two occupational hygienists who quantified the likely probability and intensity of inhalation and dermal exposures for each pesticide group for a given use during each decade. CONCLUSIONS: TEMPEST provides a basis for assessing exposures to specific pesticide groups in Scotland covering the period 1945-2005. The methods used to develop TEMPEST could be used in a retrospective assessment of occupational exposure to pesticides for Scottish epidemiological studies or adapted for use in other countries.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)443-452
Number of pages10
JournalAnnals of Occupational Hygiene
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2010


  • Exposure estimation
  • Pesticides
  • Task-exposure matrix


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