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Environ Health Perspect. Mar 2001; 109(3): 299–303.
PMCID: PMC1240250
Research Article
Biological monitoring survey of organophosphorus pesticide exposure among pre-school children in the Seattle metropolitan area.
C Lu, D E Knutson, J Fisker-Andersen, and R A Fenske
Department of Environmental Health, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 9819507234, USA. calu@u.washington.edu
Abstract
In this study we assessed organophosphorus (OP) pesticide exposure among children living in two Seattle metropolitan area communities by measuring urinary metabolites, and identified possible exposure risk factors through a parental interview. We recruited children in clinic and outpatient waiting rooms. We obtained spot urine samples in the spring and fall of 1998 from 110 children ages 2-5 years, from 96 households. We analyzed urine samples for six dialkylphosphate (DAP) compounds, the common metabolites of the OP pesticides. Through parental interviews we gathered demographic and residential pesticide use data. At least one of the DAP metabolites was measured in 99% of the children, and the two predominant metabolites (DMTP and DETP) were measured in 70-75% of the children. We found no significant differences in DAP concentrations related to season, community, sex, age, family income, or housing type. Median concentrations of dimethyl and diethyl DAPs were 0.11 and 0.04 micromol/L, respectively (all children). Concentrations were significantly higher in children whose parents reported pesticide use in the garden (0.19 vs. 0.09 micromol/L for dimethyl metabolites, p = 0.05; 0.04 vs. 0.03 micromol/L for diethyl metabolites, p = 0.02), but were not different based on reported pet treatment or indoor residential use. Nearly all children in this study had measurable levels of OP pesticide metabolites. Some of this exposure was likely due to diet. Garden pesticide use was associated with elevated metabolite levels. It is unlikely that these exposure levels would cause acute intoxication, but the long-term health effects of such exposures are unknown. We recommend that OP pesticide use be avoided in areas where children are likely to play.
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