Acute pesticide poisoning remains a vast health problem in the developed and developing world. Domestically, a 2004 study estimates that 18 of every 100,000 US agricultural workers suffer from acute pesticide poisoning and a 2002 study of California air found dangerous levels of three pesticides in urban areas. Since pesticides are primarily applied by sprayers or aerially from planes, where spray drift can translate pesticides far from their targeted areas, widespread monitoring of pesticide concentration at the site of their use and in surrounding areas is required to protect the public from dangerous levels of exposure. However, current monitoring strategies are too slow and costly to do this on a widespread scale. iSense, LLC has developed a novel sensor technology that can detect various toxic industrial chemicals (TICs) across multiple chemical moieties below their permissible exposure (PEL) limit. The technology is rapid, inexpensive and capable of distinguishing between TICS as well as complex mixtures of compounds. We propose to test, improve and optimize this technology toward the detection and identification of organophosphate pesticides, the leading type of pesticide identified in US pesticide poisoning. If successful, iSense technology could drastically reduce unhealthy pesticide exposure and improve medical treatment by simultaneously identifying the pesticides responsible for pesticide poisoning.
The proposed research will develop and test a novel array based sensor technology for the detection and identification of organophosphate pesticides. If successful, the proposed effort will yield technology to rapidly detect and identify pesticides, drastically reducing unhealthy pesticide exposure and allowing for the prompt administration of appropriate medical treatment when unhealthy exposure persists.