A pesticide exposure occurs when humans come into contact with chemicals intended to control pests. Pesticide exposures can sometimes lead to pesticide poisonings. Pesticide exposures may result from a single, short-term exposure to high levels of pesticides; a long-term exposure to high levels of pesticides; or a long-term exposure to low levels of pesticides. There are many different sources or ways people can be exposed to pesticides including pesticide residues in the air, water, soil, sediment, food materials, plants and animals. The most common exposure scenarios for pesticide-poisoning cases are accidental or suicidal poisonings, occupational exposure, bystander exposure to off-target drift, and the general public who are exposed through environmental contamination.
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Tracking Pesticide Exposures in Louisiana
The Health Data Portal contains information on the number and the average annual rate of reported pesticide exposures. These measures currently reflect pesticide exposure reports received by LDH from 2006-2011. Pesticide exposure reports come from a variety of sources including the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry, the Louisiana Poison Control Center, laboratory tests, and reports from healthcare providers. Annual parish pesticide exposure case rates for 2006 through 2011 were calculated using annual parish population data from the United States Census Bureau. An average annual pesticide exposure case rate was calculated for each parish by averaging the annual case rates for the study period.