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NC Department of Health and Human Services
NC Division of Public Health
N.C. Public Health Home

Pesticides & Health

Illness & Injury Surveillance

Because of concerns regarding potential toxicity, pesticide usage and vulnerable groups, the N.C. Division of Public Health has determined that close monitoring of pesticides is warranted and will be accomplished through a pesticide-related illness and injury surveillance program that allows the state to properly track and respond to reports of pesticide illness and injury.

What is surveillance?

Public health surveillance involves collecting information about a health problem you are concerned about; analyzing the information to determine who is affected most, where and why; and then making recommendations that will help prevent the problem from happening. The information gathered is also used by state and federal agencies and other groups to make decisions about enforcement of laws, training needs, medical care, resource allocation and research priorities.

How does the program work?

It begins with collecting almost real-time case data on acute pesticide illness and injury from several sources, including physicians (see mandatory reporting rule), Carolinas Poison Center, and the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Once a work-related report is received, it is reviewed and investigated. Certain nonwork-related cases are also investigated, based on severity. Cases are coded and classified according to criteria obtained from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), a part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Information on exposure prevention is shared with affected persons. Data collected is analyzed by program staff on a periodic basis, important findings are posted on the N.C. Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology website, and de-identified, aggregate data is shared with outside agencies and groups.