Pesticide Poisoning Surveillance Program (SENSOR)

Man Spraying Field

The Iowa Pesticide Exposure Surveillance (SENSOR) Program within the Division of Environmental Health is located within the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) and maintains a database of information on acute occupational pesticide poisonings occurring in Iowa. Pesticide poisonings include those by disinfectants, sanitizers, sterilizers, plant regulators, defoliants, desiccants, insecticides, rodenticides, or fungicides.

According to Iowa law, physicians, laboratories, and healthcare providers are required to report work-related pesticide poisonings. The program also collects additional surveillance data from Iowa Statewide Poison Control Center, state agencies, and partners in the community.

Pesticide Surveillance Program Activities:

  • Conducts surveillance on acute (short term) occupational pesticide poisoning;
  • Investigate and evaluate adverse health effects related to acute human pesticide exposure;
  • Record information from pesticide investigations into the pesticide surveillance database;
  • Estimates the extent of occupational pesticide exposure in Iowa;
  • Analyze pesticide exposure data;
  • Identifies trends of pesticide poisoning by variables such as industry, location, age, race, and ethnicity;
  • Disseminates findings about specific incidents or trends to stakeholders;
  • Write reports and articles highlighting findings from pesticide exposure data; and
  • Implement intervention and outreach activities to prevent or reduce pesticide exposure.
  • Provides periodic email updates. Send a blank email to join the IDPH OHSSP email list.

What is a pesticide?

Pesticides are chemicals developed to kill pests which include insects, weeds, fungi or rodents. Pesticides are widely used on agricultural crops, in the home, for mosquito control, in yards, and in public places. The types of pesticides commonly used are also called insecticides, herbicides, fungicides and rodenticides. Some of the benefits of pesticides are increased crop production, preserving produce, combating insect infestations and controlling exotic species.

What is pesticide poisoning?

Pesticide poisoning is an illness or injury resulting from exposure to a single or mixture of pesticides. An acute onset of illness usually occurs within 24-48 hours after the exposure. Illnesses may appear in the form of systemic signs and symptoms (e.g. respiratory, gastrointestinal, neurological); dermatologic signs (e.g. rash, hives, blisters); or ocular signs (e.g. redness, burns, blurred vision).

Additional Information

The following links and documents provide additional information. Report a pesticide exposure in Iowa by calling 800-972-2026 during regular business hours or call the Iowa Statewide Poison Control Center at 800-222-1222 anytime to report an exposure and for information about treatment.