Pesticide-Related Dermatoses

  • Michael O’Malley
  • Mai A. NgoEmail author
  • Howard I. Maibach
Reference work entry


Pesticides include chemicals, as well as biological and physical agents used to control a diverse array of pests. Although a number of occupational and nonoccupational situations affect the extent and route of exposure to pesticides, most skin effects are associated with a relatively small number of compounds. The highest exposures and risk of dermatitis involve individuals employed in agricultural pest control operations. The degree of pesticide contact may be lessened by use of protective clothing and engineering controls such as closed mixing and loading systems.

For evaluating the effects of pesticides on the skin, the most relevant tests include dermal absorption tests, the 72 hr Draize dermal irritation study, and sensitization studies. For the Draize irritancy test, a general protocol utilizing albino rabbits is provided. Suggested concentrations are also given for sensitization studies using the patch test methodology.

Registries for monitoring pesticide-related illness exist in numerous U.S. and worldwide jurisdictions. The most complete historical data derive from the California Pesticide Illness Surveillance Program. The following chapter briefly presents data on illnesses associated with individual classes of pesticides and pesticide mixtures, discussed separately as 5 categories (antimicrobials, fumigants, fungicides, herbicides, and insecticides), focusing on the principal causes of pesticide dermatitis reported in medical literature and in California use and surveillance data between 1982 and 2014.


Pesticide Agrochemical Agriculture Exposure Dermatitis Sensitization Allergy/Allergic Irritant Contact ACD ICD Antimicrobial Insecticide Fumigant Fungicide Herbicide Patch test 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael O’Malley
    • 1
    • 2
  • Mai A. Ngo
    • 2
    Email author
  • Howard I. Maibach
    • 3
  1. 1.Center for Health and EnvironmentUC DavisDavisUSA
  2. 2.Department of Pesticide RegulationCalifornia Environmental Protection AgencySacramentoUSA
  3. 3.Department of DermatologyUniversity of CaliforniaSan FranciscoUSA

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