Academic journal article Environmental Health Perspectives

Temporal Association of Children's Pesticide Exposure and Agricultural Spraying: Report of a Longitudinal Biological Monitoring Study. (Children's Health Articles)

Academic journal article Environmental Health Perspectives

Temporal Association of Children's Pesticide Exposure and Agricultural Spraying: Report of a Longitudinal Biological Monitoring Study. (Children's Health Articles)

Article excerpt

We measured organophosphorus (OP) pesticide exposures of young children living in an agricultural community over an entire year and evaluated the impact of agricultural spraying on exposure. We also examined the roles of age, sex, parental occupation, and residential proximity to fields. We recruited 44 children (2-5 years old) through a Women, Infants, and Children clinic. We collected urine samples on a biweekly basis over a 21-month period. Each child provided at least 16 urine samples, and most provided 26. We analyzed samples for the dialkylphosphate (DAP) metabolites common to the OP pesticides. DAP concentrations were elevated in months when OP pesticides were sprayed in the region's orchards. The geometric means of dimethyl and diethyl DAPs during spray months were higher than chose during nonspray months (p = 0.009 for dimethyl; p = 0.018 for diethyl). Dimethyl DAP geometric means were 0.1 and 0.07 [micro]mol/L for spray months and nonspray months, respectively (57% difference); diethyl DAP geometric means were 0.49 and 0.35, respectively (40% difference). We also observed differences for sex of the child, with male levels higher than female levels (p = 0.005 for dimethyl; p = 0.046 for diethyl). We observed no differences due to age, parental occupation, or residential proximity to fields. This study reports for the first time the temporal pattern of pesticide exposures over the course of a full year and indicates that pesticide spraying in an agricultural region can increase children's exposure in the absence of parental work contact with pesticides or residential proximity to pesticide-treated farmland. Key words: agricultural spraying, biological monitoring, children, dialkylphosphate compounds, exposure, longitudinal study, organophosphorus pesticides, urine. Environ Health Perspect 110:829-833 (2002). [Online 9 July 2002]

http://ehpnet1.niehs.nih.gov/docs/2002/110p829-833koch/abstract.html

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Concerns about quantitative and qualitative differences in the toxicity of and the exposure to pesticides between children and adults were raised by the National Research Council's 1993 report, Pesticides in the Diets of infants and Children (1). This report recognized that although dietary intake of pesticides may represent the major source of exposure for children, nondietary intake of pesticides should also be accounted for in the analysis of total or aggregate exposure. As a result, the Food Quality Protection Act of 1996 (FQPA) (2) calls for analysis of exposure from all sources and pathways in the setting of pesticide tolerances, with special emphasis on children, and new methods have been proposed for such analyses (3,4). Recent studies have demonstrated that children living in agricultural communities can have elevated pesticide exposures because of their proximity to pesticide-treated farmlands and because their parents can transmit pesticides from the workplace to the home (5, 6).

Because of behavioral, dietary, and physiologic characteristics associated with development, children may be particularly susceptible to the effects of pesticides (7), and to organophosphorus (OP) pesticides in particular (8). OP pesticides represent the first group of chemicals to be regulated as a class under FQPA because of their wide use in both agricultural and residential settings, and because they exhibit a common mechanism of action--the inhibition of cholinesterase, an important neurologic enzyme in humans (9). Several studies have focused on monitoring children's exposure to OP pesticides by measuring dialkylphosphate (DAP) compounds in the urine (6,10-13). A recent study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analyzed these same metabolites in 703 people 6 to 59 years old (14). All of these studies were conducted cross-sectionally, so their results represent exposures over relatively short time periods. Only one study to date has examined pesticide exposure with a longitudinal study design; but the study population did not include young children (15). …

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