Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment


The Pesticide Epidemiology Section (PES) and the Pesticide and Food Toxicology Section (PFTS) of the Pesticide and Environmental Toxicology Branch (PETB) manage OEHHA’s pesticide-related functions.

The Pesticide and Food Toxicology Section carries out risk assessment and hazard evaluation activities related to pesticides and other chemical contaminants in food and consumer products. These include evaluating chemical contamination of raw agricultural commodities, processed foods, and environmental media in cases of accidental release. Staff within the program performs activities required by legislation to review risk characterizations prepared by the Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) and to evaluate pesticide toxicity data in support of pesticide use and regulation in California.

The activities of the Pesticide Epidemiology Section involve the following legislatively mandated programs: pesticide illness surveillance, epidemiological and other assistance to local health officers in the event of an outbreak of pesticide poisoning, and joint and mutual responsibility with the Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) to develop regulations to protect workers exposed to agriculture pesticides. OEHHA has a mandated membership on the Pesticide Registration Evaluation Committee and is represented on the Worker Safety Regulation Workgroup of DPR. The Unit also provides education and training on the recognition, management, and reporting of pesticide poisoning to health professionals and others, and provides guidelines for medical supervision and cholinesterase monitoring of agricultural pest control workers. Risk communication activities carried out by the Unit include education for the public and for county health departments on pesticide related health issues.


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