The PEST program tracks acute pesticide poisoning incidents in Oregon, because suspected or known cases of human pesticide poisoning are a reportable condition in the state (OAR 333-017-0000 through 333-018-0015 and OAR 333-019-0000).
The PEST program also investigates human pesticide poisonings since it is a member agency of the Pesticide Analytical Response Center (PARC). PARC is a coordinating body charged with collecting and analyzing information on reported pesticide incidents in Oregon. PARC is composed of eight state agencies that have some jurisdiction over pesticides and is co-chaired by the Oregon Department of Agriculture and the Oregon Health Authority, Public Health Division.
Oregon and other states, including Arizona, California, Florida, New Mexico, New York, Texas and Washington State, also share data with NIOSH and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to identify problems that might not be detected at the state level.
Who is at Risk
Anybody who uses or stores pesticides (including herbicides, insecticides, insect repellents, etc.) incorrectly can cause acute pesticide poisoning to themselves or others. Agricultural workers and others who have more frequent, direct contact with pesticides are at highest risk of acute pesticide poisoning. Read more about exposure to pesticides in the May 12, 1998 CD Summary article: Toxic Pesticide Exposures (pdf).
What We Can Do
Investigate: Our staff investigates reports of acute illness or injury related to recent pesticide exposures. We may give advice on decontamination and how to prevent future exposure to the affected person. All personal information is confidential, so we will not contact an employer or release a name to another agency without permission from the individual.
Consult with Health Care Providers: Few doctors or other health care providers are familiar with all of the possible health effects of the wide range of pesticides used in Oregon. We have access to a medical toxicologist and other experts to provide prompt information about diagnostic testing and treatment.
Identify and Pursue Prevention Opportunities: We collect information about suspected pesticide poisonings in order to identify patterns or trends of problems with a specific pesticide or work practice. When one is found, we work with PARC, who coordinates the investigation of all incidents with other state agencies and organizations.
How to Report
For emergency help, call a health care provide or contact Oregon Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222.
To report a pesticide exposure in Oregon, call Oregon Public Health Division, Pesticide Exposure Safety & Tracking (PEST) program at (971) 673-0977.