Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, Switzerland

Martin Röösli is Professor for Environmental Epidemiology at the Swiss Tropical- and Public Health Institute in Basel and leads the Environmental Exposures and Health Unit...

...He is also co-chair of the Joint South African and Swiss Chair in Global Environmental Health. He has a background in atmospheric physics and a PhD in environmental epidemiology. His research focuses on various environmental topics including ionizing and non-ionizing radiation, transportation noise, climate change, pesticides, passive smoking and ambient air pollution. He is conducting exposure assessment studies, aetiological research and health impact assessments. Martin Röösli has published numerous scientific papers, reviews and book chapters. He is member of numerous international and national commissions dealing with environmental health risks and is scientific council member of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).



Challenges in epidemiological exposure assessment to study long term health effects of pesticides: examples from a prospective cohort of adolescents in South Africa

M. Röösli*, S. Fuhrimann, M. A. Dalvie

The CapSA study aims at prospectively investigate reproductive and neurobehavioral health effects due to environmental pesticide exposure in a cohort study of school-going children in the Western Cape, South Africa. This study will be used as an example to illustrate different methods and challenges in epidemiological exposure assessment. The 3 year prospective cohort study entails a baseline examination conducted between April and September 2017 with 1001 children (53% females) aged 9 to 16 years (11±1.69) in grade 1 to 8 (4±1.6). They are roughly distributed equally over the three study areas and almost half of the children (47%) have parents who are farmworkers and live on a farm (45%). The follow-up examination is planned for 2019. In terms of exposure assessment, study participants filled in a questionnaire about exposure relevant behavior at baseline. To obtain objective exposure information several urine and hair samples are collected from the study participants in different seasons complemented with a short questionnaire about recent behaviors. Guardians filled in a separate questionnaire on exposure situations more distant in time and about relevant covariables for the data analysis. Further, in depth data are collected in a sub-cohort of 40 children during one week in October 2018 by means of a silicon wristband and GPS tracking completed with urine spot samples and questionnaires. Soil, active air sampling and dust sampling of households are also collected during this week to better understand pesticide use and exposure in different settings. Environmental measurements in the study area over a full year include passive air sampling and aquatic measurements. Farm-owner questionnaires are being conducted and pesticide spray and rain records are being collected as well. All these information will be combined to estimate long term exposure to various pesticides.

Chetty-Mhlanga S., Basera W., Fuhrimann S., Probst-Hensch N., Delport S., Mugari M., Van Wyk J., Röösli M., Dalvie A. A prospective cohort study of school-going children investigating reproductive and neurobehavioral health effects due to environmental pesticide exposure in the Western Cape, South Africa: study protocol, BMC Public Health, (2018) 18:857.