SENSOR-Pesticides - History


Beginning in 1987, NIOSH supported the implementation of the Sentinel Event Notification System for Occupational Risks (SENSOR) program in ten state health departments. The objectives of the program were to help state health departments to develop and refine reporting systems for certain occupational disorders so that they could conduct and evaluate interventions and prevention efforts. The disorders covered by SENSOR included silicosis, occupational asthma, carpal tunnel syndrome, lead poisoning, and pesticide poisoning. While each participating state health department had previously done surveillance or interventions for some of these occupational illnesses, SENSOR helped the states to develop and refine their reporting systems and programs.

The original SENSOR-Pesticides model was based on physician reporting. Each state contacted a select group of sentinel health care professionals on a regular basis to collect information. However, this system was labor-intensive and did not yield many cases. Because different states used different methods for collecting information, their data could not be compiled or compared to analyze for trends. In response, NIOSH, along with other federal agencies (US EPA, National Center for Environmental Health), non-federal agencies (CSTE, Association of Occupational and Environmental Clinics), and state health departments, developed a standard case definition and a set of standardized variables. As of 2011, SENSOR-Pesticides had 11 participating states contributing occupational pesticide-related injury and illness data: California, Florida, Iowa, Louisiana, Michigan, New York, North Carolina, and Washington received federal funding to support surveillance activities, while New Mexico, Oregon, and Texas were unfunded SENSOR-Pesticides program partners.

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