Richard Fenske

Director, PNASH. Associate Chair and Professor, Env. and Occ. Health Sciences
Pacific Northwest Agricultural Safety and Health (PNASH) Center
UW Department of Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences

University of Washington: Box 357234, Seattle, WA 98195-7234

(800) 330-0827
(206) 616-1958

1970 BA Stanford University (History)
1972 MA Columbia University (Comparative Religion)
1976 MA University of California, Berkeley (Geography)
1978 MPH University of California, Berkeley (Environmental Health Sciences)
1984 PhD University of California, Berkeley (Environmental Health Sciences)

Research Interest: 

Professor and Associate Chair Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Director, Pacific Northwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center Richard A. Fenske is Professor and Associate Chair of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences at the University of Washington, and has served as director of the NIOSH-supported Pacific Northwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center since 1996. He is a core faculty member of the NIEHS-supported Center for Ecogenetics and Environmental Health. He also served as Deputy Director of the EPA/NIEHS-supported UW Center for Child Environmental Health Risks Research from 1998-2003, and Director of the UW Field Research and Consultation Group from 1992-1996.

Dr. Fenske received the 2006 NIOSH Director’s Award for Scientific Achievement in Occupational Safety and Health, and the 2007 Jerome Wesolowski Award from the International Society for Exposure Analysis for his substantial contributions to the field of exposure science. Dr. Fenske currently serves on several federal advisory boards and committees: the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Science Advisory Board; the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) Roundtable on Environmental Health Sciences, Research and Medicine; the National Academy of Sciences/Institute of Medicine Committee to Review the Health Effects in Vietnam Veterans of Exposure to Herbicides (serving as Chair in 2008); and the EPA Human Studies Review Board, which evaluates the science and ethics of studies involving human subjects.

Dr. Fenske’s research has focused on the assessment and mitigation of chemical hazards through workplace and community studies. He has introduced novel procedures for the assessment of skin exposure among agricultural workers through the use of fluorescent tracers. He has also contributed to the elucidation of pesticide exposure pathways for children living in agricultural communities and in residential settings. His current research includes studies of pesticide handler exposures, new biomonitoring techniques, pesticide spray drift, and para-occupational exposures of children in rural communities. He currently receives research support from the NIOSH Agricultural Centers Program, the EPA/NIEHS Children’s Environmental Health Centers Program and the Washington Department of Health. Recently, Dr. Fenske was asked to serve as the lead investigator for the Climate and Human Health sector of the University of Washington’s state-supported Climate Impacts Assessment. Dr. Fenske teaches courses in the areas of environmental health risk assessment, environmental sampling and analysis, exposure science, and public health policy related to pesticide use.

From 1984-1990 Dr. Fenske was Assistant Professor and then Associate Professor of Environmental Sciences at Rutgers University and the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station. He received his doctoral degree and master's in public health from UC Berkeley in Environmental Health Sciences. He was also awarded a master's degree in geography from UC Berkeley and a master's degree in comparative religion from Columbia University in New York. His bachelor's degree is in history from Stanford University. For more information regarding Dr. Fenske please visit his faculty page.

Dr. Fenske received the 2007 Jerome J. Wesolowski Award from the International Society of Exposure Analysis for his work in reducing human exposure to chemical hazards (read more).

Administrative and Planning Core, Reducing Agricultural Worker Risks through New and Emerging Technologies, Ergonomic Evaluation of Emerging Technologies in the Tree Fruit Industry, Pesticide Safety in Tree Fruit: Translating Research, Overcoming Barriers, Confronting the Health Risks of Climate Change
Selected Publication: 

Hofmann JN, Checkoway H, Borges O, Servin F, Fenske RA, Keifer MC. Development of a Computer-Based Survey Instrument for Organophosphate and N-Methyl-Carbamate Exposure Assessment among Agricultural Pesticide Handlers. Annuals of Occupational Hygiene 2010: April 22 (E-publication ahead of print).

Hofmann JN, Keifer MC, Checkoway H, De Roos AJ, Farin FM, Fenske RA, Richter RJ, van Belle G, Furlong CE. Biomarkers of Sensitivity and Exposure in Washington State Pesticide Handlers. Advances in Exposure Medical Biology 2010:660:19-27 (PUBMED abstract).

Hofmann JN, Keifer MC, Furlong CE, De Roos AJ, Farin FM, Fenske RA, van Belle G, Checkoway H. Serum cholinesterase inhibition in relation to paraoxonase (PON1) status among organophosphate-exposed agricultural pesticide handlers. Environmental Health Perspectives 2009 Sp;117(9):1402-08.

Hofmann JN, Keifer MC, De Roos AJ, Fenske RA, Furlong CE, van Belle G, Checkoway H. Occupational determinants of serum cholinesterase inhibition among organophosphate-exposed agricultural pesticide handlers in Washington State. Occupational and Environmental Medicine 2009.

Hofmann JN, Carden A, Fenske RA, Ruark HE, Keifer MC. Evaluation of a clinic-based cholinesterase test kit for the Washington State Cholinesterase Monitoring Program. Am J Ind Med. 2008 Jul; 51(7): 532-8. PMID: 18459125.

Thompson B, Coronado GD, Vigoren EM, Griffith WC, Fenske RA, Kissel JC, Shirai JH, and Faustman EM. Para Niños Saludables: A Community Intervention Trial to Reduce Organophosphate Pesticide Exposure in Children of Farmworkers. Environ Health Perspect. 2008 May; 116(5): 687–694. PMID: 18470300.

Rodriguez T, Younglove L, Lu C, Funez A, Weppner S, Barr DB, Fenske RA. Biological monitoring of pesticide exposures among applicators and their children in Nicaragua. Int J Occup Environ Health. 2006 Oct-Dec;12(4):312-20. PMID: 17168218.

Lu C, Rodriguez T, Funez A, Irish RS, Fenske RA. The assessment of occupational exposure to diazinon in Nicaraguan plantation workers using saliva biomonitoring. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2006 Sep;1076:355-65. PMID: 17119215.

Elgethun K, Yost MG, Fitzpatrick CTE, Nyerges TL, and Fenske RA. Comparison of Global Positioning System (GPS) Tracking and Parent-Report Diaries to Characterize Children's Time-Location Patterns. Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology, 17(2):196-206, 2007.

Hines CJ, Deddens JA, Lu C, Fenske RA, Striley CA. Mixed-effect models for evaluating multiple measures of atrazine exposure among custom applicators. J Occup Environ Hyg. 2006 May; 3(5): 274-83. PMID: 16595379.

Lu C, Toepel K, Irish R, Fenske RA, Barr DB, Bravo R. Organic diets significantly lower children's dietary exposure to organophosphorus pesticides.
Environ Health Perspect. 2006 Feb;114(2):260-3. PMID: 16451864.

Fenske RA, Lu C, Curl CL, Shirai JH, Kissel JC. Biologic monitoring to characterize organophosphorus pesticide exposure among children and workers: an analysis of recent studies in Washington State.Environ Health Perspect. 2005 Nov;113(11):1651-7.PMID: 16263526.

Weppner S, Elgethun K, Lu C, Hebert V, Yost MG, Fenske RA. The Washington aerial spray drift study: children's exposure to methamidophos in an agricultural community following fixed-wing aircraft applications. J Expo Sci Environ Epidemiol. 2006 Sep;16(5):387-96. Epub 2005 Oct 12. PMID: 16249796.

Fenske RA. State-of-the-art measurement of agricultural pesticide exposures. Scand J Work Environ Health. 2005;31 Suppl 1:67-73; discussion 63-5. Review. PMID: 16190151.

Carden A, Yost MG, Fenske RA. Noninvasive method for the assessment of dermal uptake of pesticides using attenuated total reflectance infrared spectroscopy. Appl Spectrosc. 2005 Mar;59(3):293-9. PMID: 15901309.

Fenske RA, Lu C, Barr D, Needham L. Children's exposure to chlorpyrifos and parathion in an agricultural community in Central Washington State. Environ Health Persp 110:549-553 2002.

Fenske RA, Kedan G, Lu C, Fisker-Andersen J, Curl C. Assessment of organophosphorous pesticide exposures in the diets of preschool children in Washington State. J Exp Analy Environ Epi 12:21-28 2002.

Lu C, Knutson D, Fisker-Andersen J, Fenske RA. Biological monitoring survey of organophosphorus pesticide exposure among preschool children in the Seattle metropolitan area. Environ Health Persp 109:299-303 2001.

Lu C, Fenske RA, Simcox N, Kalman D. Pesticide exposure of children in an agricultural community: Evidence of household proximity to farmland and take home exposure pathways. Environmental Research, Sec A No.84:290-302 2000.

Fenske RA, Lu C, Simcox N, Loewenherz C, Touchstone J, Moate T, Allen E, Kissel J. Strategies for assessing children's organophosphorus pesticide exposures in agricultural communities. J Exp Analy Environ Epi 10:662-671 2000.

Fenske RA. Dermal exposure: a decade of real progress. Ann Occup Hyg Vol 44 No 7:489-491 2000.

Fenske RA, Kissel J, Lu C, Kalman D, Simcox N, Allen E, Keifer M. Biologically based pesticide dose estimates for children in an agricultural community. Environ Health Persp Vol 108 No 6:515-520 2000.

Doran E, Yost MG, Fenske RA. Measuring dermal exposure to pesticide residues with attenuated total reflectance fourier transform infrared (ATR-FTIR) spectroscopy. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol No 64:666-672 2000.

Fenske RA, Simcox N, Camp J, Hines C. Comparison of three methods for assessment of hand exposure to azinphos-methyl (guthion) during apple thinning. Appl Ind Hyg Vol 14 No 9:618-623 1999.

Moate TF, Lu C, Fenske RA, Hahne RMA, Kalman D. Improved cleanup and determination of dialkyl phosphates in the urine of children exposed to organophosphorus insecticides. J Analy Toxi Vol 23 No 4:230-236 1999.