Exposure to ticks poses a substantial biological hazard for forestry workers. Since for some tick-borne diseases such as lyme borreliosis there is currently no vaccination or chemoprophylaxis available, prevention of tick bites is crucial for health protection. Besides the application of tick repellent substances onto the skin especially the use of suitable clothing can be considered as an important protective measure in this context. Regarding experiences from the military sector there is some evidence that protective activity of clothing towards ticks can be enhanced significantly by finishing the fabric with the acaricide permethrin. Based on these findings and further laboratory testing, permethrin treated clothing for forestry workers has been developed and brought to the market some time ago.
Clothing used for military purposes has been extensively evaluated in the past regarding its benefits and possible risks arising from the permethrin impregnation. In contrast, comparable data is lacking up to now regarding clothing offered for forestry workers. Therefore, it is the objective of this project to examine the protective activity of commercially available clothing against tick bites on the one hand. On the other hand permethrin exposure as well as potentially associated health effects should be studied in wearers of permethrin treated clothing for forestry workers.
The results of our practice-oriented investigations are supposed to facilitate a profound risk-benefit analysis. Based on these findings recommendations for a safe use of this clothing as personal protective equipment should be given.
This research project, which is based on a field study with 171 male employees in the German forestry industry, deals with the protective effects of permethrin impregnated forest protection trousers against ticks. Other aims were to investigate the internal exposure to permethrin and potential stress reactions of the human body. A complementary experimental study with 28 male test-subjects investigated - under strictly controlled conditions - factors which influence the absorption of permethrin and its possible routes of uptake.
agriculture and forestryType of hazard:
work-related health hazards, dangerous substancesCatchwords:
personal protective equipment, prevention, risk assessmentDescription, key words:
Biological monitoring, forestry, permethrin, protective clothing