Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 26, Issue 1, pp 896–904 | Cite as

Is the World Health Organization predicted exposure assessment model for space spraying of insecticides applicable to agricultural farmers?

  • Dung PhungEmail author
  • Greg Miller
  • Des Connell
  • Cordia Chu
Research Article


Agricultural farmers in developing countries are at high risk of pesticide exposure and adverse effects because of unsafe practices and inappropriate legislation. Biological monitoring is considered a useful tool for pesticide exposure assessment; however, its use is limited in developing countries due to a lack of techniques and resources such as laboratory analysis, trained staff and budgets. This study examines whether the World Health Organization predicted exposure assessment model (WHO-PEAM) is a suitable alternative tool for assessing insecticide exposure among agricultural farmers. WHO-PEAM was used to predict daily doses (PDD) of chlorpyrifos for a group of Vietnamese rice farmers using a set of exposure parameters obtained from a questionnaire survey of participant famers during a field study. These results were compared to absorbed daily doses (ADD) of chlorpyrifos for the farmers measured using a biological monitoring program, in which 24-h urine samples were collected and analysed for the chlorpyrifos metabolite, 3,5,6-trichloro-2-pyridinol (TCP) using LC/MS. Validation of the model results was tested using the Wilcoxon signed-rank test (WSR) and two-way mixed-model intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC). The mean of total ADD was 20 μg/kg/day while that of total PDD was 22 μg/kg/day. The WSR test revealed no statistically significant difference in the average values of ADDT and PDDT. ICC indicated substantial agreement for both single and average measures between ADDT and PDDT (ICC, 0.62 and 0.77, respectively). The results demonstrate that a refined WHO-PEAM model can be readily used as a field method, without biological monitoring, to evaluate chlorpyrifos exposure among agricultural farmers in Vietnam and similar developing countries.


Insecticide Exposure assessment Agricultural farmer WHO exposure model Biological monitoring 


Funding information

This research was supported by a Griffith University Postdoctoral Research Fellowship (#2640731).

Compliance with ethical standards

Ethical clearance

The biological monitoring program was approved for ethical clearance by Griffith University Human Research Committee (HREC) and issued with authorization to be commenced from 14/04/2009 SU Protocol Number ENV/04/09/HERC).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dung Phung
    • 1
    Email author
  • Greg Miller
    • 1
  • Des Connell
    • 2
  • Cordia Chu
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Environment and Population Health, Griffith School of MedicineGriffith UniversityBrisbaneAustralia
  2. 2.Griffith School of Science and EnvironmentGriffith UniversityBrisbaneAustralia

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