Biomonitoring in Washington State

Pyrethroid Exposure Survey and Testing (PEST) Study

From May to October 2012, the Washington State Department of Health recruited pest management professionals in western Washington to participate in the Pyrethroid Exposure Survey and Testing (PEST) study. The goal of this study was to learn how work practices affect pyrethroid exposures.

See Pyrethroid Exposure Survey and Testing (PEST) Study Brochure (PDF) for more information

Pyrethroid Exposure Survey and Testing (PEST) Study Results (PDF)


For this study WEBS staff recruited pesticide applicators with a Pest Control Operator (PCO) general or PCO structural license that lived in King, Pierce, Snohomish, Clark or Thurston counties.

Pest applicators were eligible to participate if they used pyrethroid products at work. Each participant provided questionnaire information and urine samples following a work day when they used pyrethroid pesticides. A total of 56 applicators participated in this study.


Pyrethroid metabolites:

  • 3-PBA (3-phenoxybenzoic acid)
  • Trans-DCCA (Trans-3-(2,2-dichlorovinyl)-2,2-dimethylcyclopropanecarboxylic acid)
  • 4F-3-PBA (4-fluoro-3-phenoxybenzoic acid)
  • DBCA (cis-3-(2,2-dibromovinyl)-2,2-dimethylcyclopropanecarboxylic acid)
  • 2-MPA (2-methyl-3-phenoxybenzoic acid)
  • TFP acid (3-(2-chloro-3,3,3-trifluoroprop-1-enyl) -2,2-dimethylcyclopropaneca

Major Findings

  • Urine levels of most pyrethroids were higher for pesticide applicators compared to statewide levels.
  • Levels of some pyrethroids were lower in applicators who reported wearing all of their required protective gear.
  • Pyrethroid levels were higher in applicators who used backpack sprayers.

More Resources

Integrated Pest Management Brochure (PDF)

PEST Study Presentation (PDF)