Agricultural Handlers Exposure Task Force
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Pesticide Handlers Exposure Database (PHED)

Occupational handler exposure data for use in preparing risk assessments has been a USEPA guideline requirement since 1986. At that time, the only way registrants could satisfy the requirement was to conduct product-specific exposure studies on workers who mix, load, and apply pesticides. 

Based on agreement that handler exposure to pesticides is generic rather than product-specific, the agricultural chemical industry and the regulatory agencies cooperated in establishing the Pesticide Handlers Exposure Database (PHED) in the early 1990s. Companies contributed their exposure data for the common benefit of all registrants, while waiving their rights to data compensation. PHED was then used by the regulatory agencies and all registrants to satisfy the data requirements, regardless of whether or not the registrants contributed to the database. 

The data in PHED are inherently limited and increasingly outdated.  Thus, USEPA, CDPR and PMRA announced in 2001 that they would proceed to develop a new approach, ultimately to supplement or replace PHED. The new approach would consist of monographs of handler exposure scenarios, compiled from all available sources. Consequently, AHETF was formed in December 2001. The mission of the AHETF is to share member resources in the design, evaluation, and development of an agricultural mixer/loader and applicator exposure database for use in regulatory risk assessments.

EPA recently confirmed that it "considers the AHETF data to be the 'most reliable' and will - going forward - rely on these data for routine exposure and risk assessments for pesticides whose use is consistnet with the AHETF monitored exposure scenarios.  Thus, as AHETF data for each pesticide handler exposure scenario becomes available, they will supersede existing data."


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