California leads the nation in the number of pounds of pesticide applied, and each year pesticides poison hundreds of workers. California physicians are required to report any case of suspected pesticide poisoning. They are also required to report all suspected work-related injury or illness. The Occupational Pesticide Illness Prevention Program is funded by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to collect and examine these reports to learn more about occupational pesticide poisoning and how to prevent it.
The purpose of the program is to identify the kinds of jobs and types of pesticides that cause health problems in workers. Information gathered by the program is sent to NIOSH and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). NIOSH and EPA use this information to shape pesticide policy in order to prevent future pesticide illness. This program is part of the Sentinel Event Notification System for Occupational Risk (SENSOR), funded by NIOSH. Under this program, NIOSH provides cooperative agreement funding and technical support to state health departments to track occupational illnesses and injuries.