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Environ Health Perspect. 2007 May;115(5):684-9. Epub 2007 Jan 4.

Linkage of the California Pesticide Use Reporting Database with spatial land use data for exposure assessment.

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Department of Environmental and Radiological Health Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado 80523-1681, USA.



The State of California maintains a comprehensive Pesticide Use Reporting Database (CPUR). The California Department of Water Resources (CDWR) maps all crops in agricultural counties in California about once every 5 years.


We integrated crop maps with CPUR to more accurately locate where pesticides are applied and evaluated the effects for exposure assessment.


We mapped 577 residences and used the CPUR and CDWR data to compute two exposure metrics based on putative pesticide use within a 500-m buffer. For the CPUR metric, we assigned pesticide exposure to the residence proportionally for all square-mile Sections that intersected the buffer. For the CDWR metric, we linked CPUR crop-specific pesticide use to crops mapped within the buffer and assigned pesticide exposure. We compared the metrics for six pesticides: simazine, trifluralin (herbicides), dicofol, propargite (insecticides), methyl bromide, and metam sodium (fumigants).


For all six pesticides we found good agreement (88-98%) as to whether the pesticide use was predicted. When we restricted the analysis to residences with reported pesticide use in Sections within 500 m, agreement was greatly reduced (35-58%). The CPUR metric estimates of pesticide use within 500 m were significantly higher than the CDWR metric for all six pesticides.


Our findings may have important implications for exposure classification in epidemiologic studies of agricultural pesticide use using CPUR. There is a need to conduct environmental and biological measurements to ascertain which, if any, of these metrics best represent exposure.

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