(8) Use protective clothing and/or equipment when dictated by the
situation (see paragraph b, below).
(9) Each installation should develop a standing operating procedure (SOP)
for safe handling of pesticides and for clean-up of pesticide spills.
b. Protective Clothing and Devices. Whether or not protective clothing and
equipment are required depends upon several factors -- the toxicity of the chemical
(particularly the dermal toxicity), its concentration, and its volatility. The precautionary
statement on the pesticide label must be consulted concerning specific requirements for
protective clothing and devices. TB MED223, Respiratory Protective Devices, lists
respiratory which are approved for use with pesticides. There are currently no approved
respirators in the military supply system; they must be purchased from commercial
sources. Common Table of Allowances (CTA) 50-914 lists the standard items of
protective clothing and equipment in the military supply system. AR 385-32, Protective
Clothing and Equipment, fixes the responsibility on commanders for procuring (from
commercial sources, if unavailable within the Army supply system) the necessary
protective clothing and equipment to safeguard the health of all personnel engaged in
hazardous occupations or working with hazardous materials. For advice concerning
protective clothing, equipment, and devices, users may consult the U.S. Army
Environmental Hygiene Agency. The Armed Forces Pest Management Board has an
excellent technical information manual (TIM 14) available on protective equipment for
pest control personnel. A copy may be obtained by calling DSN 291-5365 (Test
Management Information Analysis Center, Wash., D.C.).
THE CHOLINESTERASE TEST
a. General. The principal physiological effect of organophosphates and, to a
lesser degree, the carbamates on the human body is the inhibition of cholinesterase.
Cholinesterase is an enzyme which is synthesized in the tissues and which works with
other enzymes to control the action of the central nervous system. When
cholinesterase is inactivated by chemicals such as organophosphates, carbamates, or
nerve type war gases, the enzyme balance is disturbed and the nervous system does
not function properly. The result are (in increasing order of severity) gastrointestinal
discomfort, salivation, and profuse sweating; muscular weakness; paralysis of the legs,
then arms and back; and, finally, paralysis of the diaphragm with breathing difficulty and
b. Reasons for Testing. The action of cholinesterase inhibitors is insidious.
By the time symptoms appear, irreparable damage already may have been done. It is
possible, by means of laboratory analysis of body fluids, to determine the level of
cholinesterase activity in the body. By detecting a drop in cholinesterase activity, we
may spot danger signs in a person who has been exposed before symptoms appear.
We can then take positive steps to prevent further exposure.