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Environ Health Perspect. 2002 December; 110(12): A787–A792.
PMCID: PMC1241133
Research Article

Evaluation of take-home organophosphorus pesticide exposure among agricultural workers and their children.

Abstract

We analyzed organophosphorus pesticide exposure in 218 farm worker households in agricultural communities in Washington State to investigate the take-home pathway of pesticide exposure and to establish baseline exposure levels for a community intervention project. House dust samples (n = 156) were collected from within the homes, and vehicle dust samples (n = 190) were collected from the vehicles used by the farm workers to commute to and from work. Urine samples were obtained from a farm worker (n = 213) and a young child (n = 211) in each household. Dust samples were analyzed for six pesticides, and urine samples were analyzed for five dialkylphosphate (DAP) metabolites. Azinphosmethyl was detected in higher concentrations (p < 0.0001) than the other pesticides: geometric mean concentrations of azinphosmethyl were 0.53 micro g/g in house dust and 0.75 micro g/g in vehicle dust. Dimethyl DAP metabolite concentrations were higher than diethyl DAP metabolite concentrations in both child and adult urine (p < 0.0001). Geometric mean dimethyl DAP concentrations were 0.13 micro mol/L in adult urine and 0.09 micro mol/L in child urine. Creatinine-adjusted geometric mean dimethyl DAP concentrations were 0.09 micro mol/g in adult urine and 0.14 micro mol/g in child urine. Azinphosmethyl concentrations in house dust and vehicle dust from the same household were significantly associated (r2 = 0.41, p < 0.0001). Dimethyl DAP levels in child and adult urine from the same household were also significantly associated (r2 = 0.18, p < 0.0001), and this association remained when the values were creatinine adjusted. The results of this work support the hypothesis that the take-home exposure pathway contributes to residential pesticide contamination in agricultural homes where young children are present.

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