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Environ Health Perspect. 2002 May; 110(5): 549–553.
PMCID: PMC1240847
Research Article

Children's exposure to chlorpyrifos and parathion in an agricultural community in central Washington State.


We measured two diethyl organophosphorus (OP) pesticides--chlorpyrifos and parathion--in residences, and their metabolic by-products, in the urine of children 6 years old or younger in a central Washington State agricultural community. Exposures to two dimethyl OP pesticides (azinphos-methyl and phosmet) in this same population have been reported previously. We categorized children by parental occupation and by household proximity to pesticide-treated farmland. Median chlorpyrifos house dust concentrations were highest for the 49 applicator homes (0.4 microg/g), followed by the 12 farm-worker homes (0.3 microg/g) and the 14 nonagricultural reference homes (0.1 microg/g), and were statistically different (p < 0.001); we observed a similar pattern for parathion in house dust. Chlorpyrifos was measurable in the house dust of all homes, whereas we found parathion in only 41% of the homes. Twenty-four percent of the urine samples from study children had measurable 3,5,6-trichloro-2-pyridinol (TCPy) concentrations [limits of quantitation (LOQ) = 8 microg/L], and 7% had measurable 4-nitrophenol concentrations (LOQ = 9 microg/L). Child urinary metabolite concentrations did not differ across parental occupational classifications. Homes in close proximity (200 ft/60 m) to pesticide-treated farmland had higher chlorpyrifos (p = 0.01) and parathion (p = 0.014) house dust concentrations than did homes farther away, but this effect was not reflected in the urinary metabolite data. Use of OP pesticides in the garden was associated with an increase in TCPy concentrations in children's urine. Parathion concentrations in house dust decreased 10-fold from 1992 to 1995, consistent with the discontinued use of this product in the region in the early 1990s.

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